While the Macallan's modern expressions are adored by many, its oldest whiskies are considered by experts to be the foremost in the market. But stocks of its nineteenth-century bottlings are running low, as most have been snapped up by collectors. So the Macallan has taken the unusual (but not unique) step of re-creating some of its finest antique whiskies for drinkers today.
The Macallan has replicated three of the best: the 1874, now a collector's item; the 1861, which won widespread critical acclaim; and, most recently, the 1841.
And in April the company will introduce the Macallan 1876 Replica, which has been created with devout attention. Whisky maker Bob Dalgarno syringed off a small amount of the original whisky, tasted it and set out to reproduce a drink as close to that profile as he could. He attempted to duplicate the rich notes of the whisky and an unexpected raisin component normally associated with bourbon. To do this he selected a total of fifty-six casks from six different years between 1967 and 1995.
The finished product is surprising, because while it almost perfectly reflects the original 1876 whisky, it is unlike most modern bottlings. It doesn't have the complexities of some of the recent Macallans, but it does have sweet, honeyed notes on the nose, floral tones on the palate and just a hint of smoke. The finish is astoundingly crisp and short, probably due to the young 1995 whisky.
The 1876 has been packaged in a replica of the original bottle complete with a small booklet on social etiquette of the time.
The Macallan 1876 Replica sells for around $200; visit themacallan.com for a list of U.S. retailers.