Review 596: Macallan 1985 31 Year

macallan198531yoAfter we finished the Kavalan Masterclass we hang around the whisky sho and enjoyed a wee dram. When almost everyone was gone Tom-Roderick Muthert came to our table with a sample with an almost black liquid inside and asked us to taste it. Never afraid to taste something blindly we shifted our glasses in his direction 🙂

Let’s find out how this one performs in my glass.

Sample provided by:

What they write about it:

Rare events by definition are witnessed infrequently. A Celebration of the Cask Black Gold bottling is such an event.

Only bottled from the darkest sherry casks, Black Gold highlights the wonderful marriage of the finest malts of Scotland with the best casks of Jerez de la Frontera The unique phenomenon of Sherry Cask maturation!

Distillery:Macallan Distillery
Location:Craigellachie, Banffshire
Owner:Edrington / WM Grant > Highland Distillers
Water Source:Ringorm Burn
Stills:9 Wash stills
18 Spirit stills
Capacity:8.000.000 litres of pure alcohol per year

Expression:Macallan 1985 31 Year
Category:Single Malt
Bottled by:Càrn Mòr (Morrison & MacKay) - Celebration of the Cask Black Gold
Age:31 Year
ABV (% Alc):52.8%
Non-chill filtered:Yes
Natural colour:Yes
Phenols (smoke):0 ppm on barley
Distillation date:07-03-1985
Bottle date:19-09-2016
Maturation:Sherry Butt
Cask number:#1388
Bottle number:440 Bottles
Bottle content:70cl

Dark amber / old oak

A rich, elegant, full and well balanced whisky with aromas of lush high quality sherry, subtle sulphur, dark forest honey, dried fruits (figs, plums, apricots, dates, sultanas), peach, nectarines, toffee, caramel, sticky toffee pudding, bitter orange marmalade, mahogany, rosewood, spices (cinnamon, allspice, ginger, sweet clove, nutmeg), grass, hay, subtle smoked ham, brown sugar, molasses, old leather, antique polish, beeswax, subtle earthy tones, overripe bananas, hint of eucalyptus, black tea, mocha, dark chocolate, macerated cherries, dried flowers, espresso and lush creamy oak.

A powerful, rich, full, complex and well balanced whisky with aromas of lush high quality sherry, chili, fresh cracked black pepper, tannins, dried fruits (apricots, plums, figs, dates, cherries, sultanas), green apple, pear, dark honey, thick vanilla, sulphur, spices (cinnamon, allspice, sweet clove, nutmeg, ginger), apricot jam, nectarines, red apples, dark chocolate, mocha, brown sugar, caramel, butterscotch, rosewood, mahogany, damp cellar, earthy tones, old books, subtle molasses, walnut, backed banana, strong English tea with milk, leather, sweet tobacco and powerful oak.

A long, rich and slightly drying finish with aromas of sulphur, bitter tannins, lush elegant sherry, dried fruits, backing spices, bitter orange marmalade, toffee and a lot of old oak.

Now this whisky oozes old fashioned quality! What a great balance and deep lush layers of flavours. This whisky needs very much time to fully open up. I wouldn’t add water to this whisky as the balance is pimply superb. The risk with adding water is that the wood takes over. I often heard people speak about old style high quality Macallan’s and now (finally) I understand what they mean. This dram has good layering and keeps on revealing new delicate and lush flavours. I can happily sit with this for a few hours just sniffing it.
All in all a superbly rich and high quality whisky.

What are your thoughts on the liquid in this bottle?