If you want to catch the attention of Scotch whisky collectors, you need only utter two words: The Macallan. Still the largest whisky brand by market cap, there is an insatiable appetite for anything that comes out of the Speyside distillery. It’s why Halcyon Spirits, a new independent bottler with over 1,000 casks in its inventory, chose it as its debut release.
The whisky comes from a single, first-fill sherry cask, which keeps it in line with The Macallan’s signature style. The distillery almost exclusively uses sherry-seasoned casks to make its whisky, so the resulting liquid is almost identical to what you’d expect out of an official decanter.
If bottled by The Macallan, a 30 Year Old single cask would command a price well over $10,000. There is less of an appetite for independent bottles among collectors. If you want to open the bottle and try it, then it’s your lucky day. This release is something of a bargain at £2,950 (approx $3,800).
Compare that to The Macallan’s official 30 Year Old, which you can pick up every year for $4,000. A similar price and a similar product. The main difference is Halcyon Spirits is releasing just 238 bottles of theirs. Then it’s gone, never to be repeated. And therein lies the magic of single-cask whisky – what happens inside is genuinely unique. It’s exactly the kind of thing collectors get into whisky for.
Practically speaking, this whisky tastes exactly how you’d expect a licensed product from The Macallan to taste. It has a rich, mahogany color and is rich in dried fruits. Bottled at a cask strength of 49.8%, this whisky is perfect for drinking straight, but a touch of water tones down the oak spice and increases the sweetness.
For the founders of Halcyon Spirits, this marks the start of a long journey. They have just finished building their own state-of-the-art cask warehouse containing aging whisky from some of the most sought-after distilleries in the world.
“We are in a fortunate position to have direct access to a fantastic selection of quality maturing whisky casks, which makes the journey of selection and bottling incredibly exciting.”
The Milne brothers made their name in whisky through the successful launch of an auction site, from which they have garnered an enviable contact book. Even on the independent markets, only the best connected get access to The Macallan casks.
Tasting Notes: Halcyon Spirits, The Macallan 30 Year Old*
Nose: Rich dried fruits – prunes, dates, figs and raisins. Intense old-style orange zest marmalade. Treacle and vanilla toffee sweetness. A cornucopia of redolent spices – cloves, cracked black pepper, aniseed and licorice. Roasted tropical fruits – pineapple and mango – and polished antique oak.
Taste: Powerful, intense, tannic Spanish oak. Spices of cloves, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. Sweet treacle and vanilla toffee and fudge.
Finish: Lingering, long, beautifully drying and moreish. Mature oak spices with dried fruits and a late fresh orange marmalade finish.
To find out more about Halcyon Spirits, visit halcyonspirits.com
*notes provided by Halcyon Spirits