James MacArthur is a Scottish independent bottler established in 1982. Although the original aim of the Old Masters series was to present casks from little-known or lost distilleries, this concept has been widened a little.
We’re trying a Macallan 1980 bottled in 2001. Although the label doesn’t mention the cask type, a sister cask #16447 was bottled by Jack Wiebers in 2010 and that was said to be a sherry butt.
Macallan 1980 (57,8%, James Mac Arthur Old Master’s 2001, cask #16457)
Nose: lots of yellow (slightly overripe) apples, mixed with dusty grains and old books. Quite some nutty notes (walnut husks) as well as hay and a little shoe polish (could be the time spent in glass). A vague sweetness underneath. Not the typical Macallan sherry profile in any case.
Mouth: strange one. There’s a grainy harshness, walnuts again and this undefined sweetness (I’d still pick apple if you made me choose). Liquorice and damp wood. Something in between paraffin and shoe polish again.
Finish: long, but slightly sharp, grassy and bitter. Ginger and grapefruit zest.
This is an interesting Macallan, but not something you associate with the classic profile. Not the most attractive profile either. Maybe these casks didn’t meet the official standards? Auction material. Thanks Joeri!