April is a terrible month for reflecting on your finances. So what do the folks at Macallan do? Make it worse by releasing one of the rarest liquids in their history at a soul-crushing price, just to taunt us.
Macallan 50, available in early April, is bottled at 44 percent ABV, or 88 proof. For the lucky guys who can afford it, it’ll be “presented in a solid oak box, featuring an etched face inlaid with a matte gold badged age statement. The bottle label is reminiscent of the 50 and 25 Years Old bottlings of yesteryear,” which is a lovely, Scottish way of saying the label is a vintage throwback.
A throwback it is though: we’ve seen Macallan bottled at 50 years of age before, when it was released as part of the “Six Pillars” Lalique collection a few years ago. Last year one of those bottles broke some auction records selling for over $80,000.
This is a new release, though it’s arguably similar to that very expensive bottle. It’s to be sold at a stroke-inducing $35,000 suggested retail price, which puts it at about $1,500 an ounce if my brain can still conceptualize numbers.
Here’s the bad news (yeah, the price wasn’t the bad news). Only 200 individually numbered bottles of the stuff are being released this year, and only 35 bottles from that lot are being distributed in the U.S. So of the large population of people with $35,000 to spend on whisky, only a few dozens will get their hands on one.
Not that it matters, but you may be wondering what it tastes like.
Macallan says this bottle has spice, smoke, and earthy, fruit sweetness on the nose, and that on the palate the whisky coats your mouth in fudge, toffee, and vanilla, followed by hints of peppercorn, orange peel, and fig. It finishes long and dry with a hint of smoke.
I haven’t had a chance to taste this particular single malt, but Macallan seems to have the rare ability to age gracefully, reliably, past 30 years. When they released the 65-Year Lalique decanter a couple of years ago, that liquid cost its weight in gold, and was worth every penny. I have no doubt 50 is the same.
Another bonus to these supremely old Macallans is that some of them distilled in post-WWII Scotland would have been peated—as the country was rebuilding, coal rations weren’t exactly prioritized for the distilleries, and many of the scotch producers of the country turned temporarily to peat to kiln their barley.
It’s like finding a steel penny: a unique, traceable piece of history. Only this is worth more. And swallowing it is something adults should do.