Single malt whisky - tasting notes

22 Jan 2014

Macallan 1990 (Whiskybroker)

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Macallan

Whiskybroker is a rather small company started by Martin Armstrong, the son of Bladnoch’s Raymond Armstrong. He seem to be doing well, regularly bottling interesting whiskies and always under the market value. Whether or not selling under the market value is a good thing is prone to discussion, but a lot of aficionados are happy to find such good value in days of price levels set by marketing departments.

This Macallan 1990 is a quirky little whisky. Except, it’s not whisky. It only contains 34,9% of alcohol so it’s technically underproof “spirit”. Probably a leaking cask.


Macallan 1990 WhiskybrokerMacallan 23 yo 1990 (34,9%, Whiskybroker 2013, hogshead, 20cl.)

Nose: very odd. It shows a nicely sweet (but also slightly youngish, after 23 years?) fruitiness of apricot, whitecurrant and pineapple. Honey glazing and some vanilla. It quickly gets overpowered by bags of sawdust and hints of pine tree air refresher. A carpenter’s workshop really. Some eucalyptus, up to the point where the oak gives you a slightly soapy smell, if you know what I mean. Mouth: watered down whisky with a generous dash of pine sap. Completely overtaken by oak flavours. Totally flat, with some of the harshness of grain whisky. Ginger maybe, nutmeg, and some sweetness of soaked white bread. Takes water well (just kidding). Finish: very short, and the wood is all that comes out.

Have you ever left a bit of whisky in a glass and tried to drink it the morning after? That’s more or less what this is. Apart from the fact that it’s not whisky, it’s obviously from a defective cask that let essential flavours disappear and let excessive amounts of wood juices get into the spirit.

Very weak (in different ways) and a self-respecting bottler should have poured it away. Still available from Whiskybroker. Around £ 18.

Score: 18/100

Macallan 1990 (Whiskybroker) 0.5 Ruben Luyten 2014-01-22
  • Ricardo

    Well, you could pay the £18 and PRETEND it’s drinkable. 8^)

  • anonymous

    Somehow I think that perhaps should have combined this with other WB reviews.
    Martin offers whisky at decent prices so lets give him a chance.

  • WhiskyNotes

    I will do that. It’s true that Whiskybroker frequently bottles high quality whisky, but this one is out of bounds completely.

  • Gal(WhiskyIsrael)

    18/100? is this a typo?

  • WhiskyNotes

    No but in this part of the scale it hardly matters. It was worse than the Tobermory 1994 Carn Mor though.

  • Arild Een

    18 points. Wow! I have not tried the Macallan but it can not be that bad. The reason is this: if one scores a drink at a 0-100 scale one can assume that the worst possible taste in the world would receive 0. Say, if you taste a whisky that tastes like degenerated horse piss, you would probably rate it at 0. What does that tell you about the Macallan, relatively? I does not make sense, does it?

  • Troy

    I love this blog, in part, because of your general willingness to say what you feel. Kudos.

  • Ricardo

    How about a lot of ice and some Coca Cola?



November 2015
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Coming up

  • Amrut 2009 (cask #2701)
  • Glenlivet 1981 (#9468 for TWE)
  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1933 notes by Ruben

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