Macallan has many fine offerings, many available in multiple expressions. Among the Macallan we see the most is the 25 year. Which 25 year you ask? Well, that’s where it gets interesting as there are many. While we purchase all of them, we’ll look at just a few of our usual suspects from the Sherry Oak Range.
In 1981, the regulatory body for the Sherry Industry in Spain, the Consejo Regulador, stepped in and altered The Macallan and the Scotch Whisky industry at large. Since the 16th century, sherry had been exported from Spain in sherry transport barrels. Once emptied, the casks often went on to be used for maturing whisky. In the early 1980’s an effort was underway to protect the sherry industry and the Consejo Regulador declared that all sherry must be produced and bottled within the Sherry Triangle. This quickly eliminated the transport cask.
Of course, this disrupted the whisky supply chain. For a time some casks were treated with a substance called paxarette to recreate the sherry flavor. In 1989 this practice was deemed illegal by the Scotch Whisky Association as it was considered an additive.
In more recent years the industry moved to sherry seasoned casks made to their specifications. These casks will be filled with sherry for anywhere from a few months to years before being sent to the distiller to mature their product.
The One with the Handwritten Label
In the early 1980’s a 25 year distilled in 1957 was bottled to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the foundation of Rinaldi Brothers, Inc. The bottle has a handwritten label, with a red ribbon and wax seal.
The One with the Maroon Ribbon
In the late nineties, the 25 Year was given a slight makeover, possibly around 1999 when Highland Distillers was acquired by Edrington. The bottle now featuring a maroon colored ribbon and wax seal.
The One with the Black Ribbon
Around 2018, Macallan relaunched several of its flagship products, introducing a
black ribbon on the 25 Year Sherry Oak. It was with this relaunch that Macallan broke its portfolio into three distinct selections. The selections are now clearly labeled and are identifiable to collectors by cask type, The Sherry Oak Range, Double Cask Range and Triple Cask Range.
The 25 Year Anniversary
The first 25 Year Anniversary was distilled in 1957 and released in 1983, also carrying a handwritten label. The name is a bit of marketing genius. Rather than it representing a Macallan anniversary, it was meant to be used to toast 25th
anniversaries, something a lot of people have to celebrate! These bottles have typically been presented in more raw hewn wooden cases. Amazingly, these originally sold for under £30 at the time. Modern bottles of these have a stopper cork, whereas releases prior to the 1990’s have a screw cap.
This bottle’s wooden box is the belted version, there is also one featuring leather straps. The leather strap boxes were made for the American export market. In 2004 Macallan stopped referring to this as the Anniversary Malt.
Which is your favorite bottling? If you have a Macallan you’re considering selling, we’d love to buy it!