Tasting The Macallan Fine & Rare Collection 1990 Edition

Limited to 467 bottles, a single malt scotch whisky that makes a lasting impression

To celebrate The Macallan‘s most recent addition to their Fine & Rare Collection—the inimitable 1990 Edition—a group of media, content-makers and collectors ventured to Aspen, Colorado for a sip of the rarified single malt scotch whisky. From last year’s delectable Harmony Collection Rich Cacao bottling to the unmatched majesty of this year’s 81-year-old The Reach (the acclaimed Speyside whisky-maker’s oldest expression ever), The Macallan continues to appease the ravenous market for their liquid through creative and carefully considered releases. Though 1990 may not seem that far, this particular limited edition release matured for a mind-bending 30 years—and with that number comes a rich (all-natural) rosewood color and a depth of flavor that rivals everything in the brand’s portfolio.

Courtesy of Tim Walker

What does a $17,921 Macallan taste like? There were several indicators in advance of our dram. First, of course, is the higher proof, with the 1990 Edition registering at 54.9% ABV. Second, and far more important, is the fact that this scarce liquid was drawn entirely from only one first fill sherry-seasoned American oak cask.

As much as this information informed expectations, nothing compared to the moment the tipple’s scents wafted into our nose and soon after coated our palate. The brand makes a reference to “antique” oak as an aroma and that, along with expressed orange, gentle peach and honeyed notes, is central to the olfactory experience. Composing the long, consistently developing flavor profile, almond and vanilla attributes yield to a delicious bundle of dried fruits and baking spices.

Courtesy of The Macallan

“Fine & Rare 1990 was selected for its balance, influenced by the harmony of the spirit and its use of particular sherry-seasoned American oak casks and the time spent within,” Raquel Raies, The Macallan’s regional education manager for the Americas, tells COOL HUNTING. “The whisky was matured in a single sherry seasoned American oak butt cask for 30 years which created such a unique color and flavor for the whisky. It is absolutely a crafted product of its era.”

It is, absolutely, a crafted product of its era

Raies adds that, while singular in its presence, the liquid bears The Macallan signatures for those familiar. “The flavor profile will lend itself to brighter notes such as rich vanilla and honey reminiscent to those found in The Macallan Double Cask range, which is predominantly aged in our American oak sherry casks along with European oak sherry casks,” she says.

For anyone not familiar with The Macallan Fine & Rare Collection, which includes 58 individuals releases representing eight different decades, Raies explains, that it “tells the story of The Macallan from 1926 through to 1993, offering insights into the aroma and flavor characteristics of our single malt over time.” She adds that, “Each vintage is a precious reminder that we write our own stories and each of these wonderful whiskies stands as testimony to the people who made and nurtured them.”

“The Macallan continues to extend the range with superlative new vintages to maintain the collection as the finest and rarest range of single malt whiskies ever produced,” Raies concludes. The latest of which, of course, is the 1990—and each of the 467 bottles comes encased in an FSC-certified European oak box, produced by Moran’s Wood Components, a family-run manufacturer in England that’s dedicated to craft and environmental responsibility. It’s another refined touch to a pinnacle product in the category.

Hero image courtesy of Tim Walker