Single malt whisky - tasting notes

07 Dec 2011

Macallan 1955 (Campbell, Hope & King)

Posted by: Ruben Luyten In: Macallan

I’m excited to say WhiskyNotes is 3 years old today!

WhiskyNotesTo celebrate, let’s try this Macallan 1955 that was sampled by Luc Timmermans some time ago. It’s one of many versions bottled by Campbell, Hope & King and imported in Italy by Rinaldi. A little bit of history…

You can find similar versions distilled in almost any year between +/- 1947 and 1962, all bottled in the 1960’s and 1970’s at 80° proof (46%). They don’t have an age statement on the bottle but usually the cardboard box states “over 15 years old” (I wouldn’t be surprised though if that were just generic boxes).

A couple of changes happen in 1962: Campbell, Hope & King is closed and Macallan starts bottling / distributing directly, the alcohol volume goes down to 43% and Macallan starts to add a bottling year (e.g. 1964/1982). Although at that time they are already bottled at 18 years, it’s not until the 1967 vintage that they officially put the blue “18 years” ribbon on the box and the (neck) label. A legend is born! With those official 18yo’s, we’re halfway the 1980’s and Rinaldi (taken over in 1983) is replaced by Giovinetti as the new importer for Italy.

In short, this Macallan 1955 is a predecessor of the famous Macallan 18yo’s. It was bottled around 1973 and should be around 18 years old.

 

Macallan 1955 - Campbell Hope King - RinaldiMacallan 1955 (80° proof, OB +/- 1973, Campbell Hope & King, Rinaldi import, 75 cl)

Nose: wow. Indeed it’s the legendary combination of luscious sherry and faint phenolic notes. The sherry richness starts with all kinds of dried fruits (mainly figs, sultanas and dates but also quinces and raspberries) and goes to honey and beeswax (quite special, I associate this more with bourbon maturation). There’s also plenty of mint liqueur and eucalyptus, as well as old furniture, old paint, old books, tobacco… All of this covered in a veil of ashes and the softest hints of tar. Balances between sweet and dry notes. Stunning complexity. Mouth: a lot of sherry. Especially the chocolate / coffee combo stands out, as well as jammy fruits, raisins and relatively soft spices and herbs (hints of cough syrup). Leather notes as well as a slightly metallic hint of shoe polish (OBE?). Mint again. Puffs of smoke. Finish: long, fairly dry with dark chocolate and spices.

The mint liqueur, beehive notes and perfect sherry give this a heavenly nose. The palate was more heavily sherried than expected and quite chocolaty – needless to say it’s perfectly faultless sherry. Oh my, what a delight. Hard to find these days and very expensive. All pre-18yo vintages usually fetch between € 1000 and 1500.

Score: 95/100

Macallan 1955 (Campbell, Hope & King) 5 Ruben Luyten 2011-12-07
  • http://www.whiskybase.com/profile.php?userviewid=5050 Alexander

    Ruben,

    Congratulations! Great site, looks great, reads well.
    Well done and keep it up!

    Greetings

    Alexander

  • http://www.thosop.com Luc

    Congratulations Ruben !

  • http://www.whiskynotes.be Ruben

    Thanks Alexander.
    Thanks Luc, and thanks for making it possible to try this beauty.

  • Tim F

    Well done Ruben, and what a whisky to celebrate!! Sounds fabulous.

  • Luca D’Anna

    My congratulations Ruben, together with all the possible envy for the Macallan :)

  • http://www.whiskyisrael.co.il Gal Granov

    Congrats!
    what better way to celebrate than with this amazing Mac

  • Michael

    Congratulations Ruben and thank you for all these great Whisky Notes.

  • http://onversneden.com/2010/05/01/glen-scotia-1992-malts-of-scotland/ Johan

    Hear hear!

  • Johan L

    Congratulations Ruben, and lots of years to continue your site!
    This review sounds like a good opportunity to send a sample to your dedicated followers who wrote a congratulation! ;-)

  • Karel

    3 years already? Tempus fugit!
    Congratulations, thanks and keep up the good work!

  • http://www.thebondingdram.eu Jeroen

    Cheers! And may many more years (and old macallans) follow!

  • joeri

    Wat betreft die prijzen… de oude Macallans zijn inderdaad duur aan ‘t gaan op dit eigenste moment bij McTears :-)
    Proficiat met de 3!

  • http://blog.whivie.be Mark Dermul

    Happy Dramday, WN! Keep up the good work and the great notes.

  • http://www.whiskynotes.be Ruben

    Thanks everyone.

  • http://tmc.marccastermans.be Marc Castermans

    Congrats Ruben

  • jacopo

    congratulations, Ruben! and btw, I definetely agree with Johan…!
    keep on dramming and thanks for your daily notes.

  • Damien

    Congrats Ruben!!!

  • Charlie Wang

    Congratulations!!!

    What a fine job you have done for all of us!!!

  • Geert Bero

    Congratulations with 3 years of notes,keep up the spirit and hopefully you will find that 100 points malt.

  • Bert B.

    Ruben,

    Congrats on what you’re doing. I know what it takes to keep up a blog, and it’s a hell of a job.

    Keep up the good work !!!

    Gr.,
    Bert.

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  • Roberto Sikora: This is really a great, great bottling. One of my favourite Littlemills so far... :-) Thank you, Ruben for this review!
  • george: i see you have tried st magdalene and say it is harder to find i am a collector of st magdalene and i have 40 bottles i am selling these date from 196
  • sjoerd972: I wish the guys at Bushmills would demand the labels to say "Northern Ireland" so we didn't have to speculate on the booze's origins.

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1599 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.