FrontRunners: A Pour From The Past

Think of it as the distillers’ equivalent of cloning. Macallan whisky maker Bob Dalgarno was assigned the task of re-creating the 1861 by replicating the single malt’s color, texture, and taste. A hypodermic needle was used to carefully penetrate the cork of a sealed original 1861 and withdraw a sample that was then nosed and profiled—a frustrating task because of the whisky’s tendency to unlock more flavors the longer it is exposed to air. In the end, it took 28 casks of varying ages from Macallan’s warehouses to duplicate the 1861 vintage. The result is an 85.4-proof spicy single malt rich in citrus and fruit.

The whisky is being sold in a limited edition bottling—an exact hand-blown replica of the original complete with a lead-sealed cork and an antique label. However, to purchase the new 1861 (approximate cost, $145) you will have to travel outside the United States.

In an effort to maintain the integrity of its 12,000 bottles, Macallan refused to change the original 19th-century label to meet the 21st-century requirements set by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. You can find the 1861 Macallan at any reputable liquor store in the United Kingdom.

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Photo by Jeff Elkins
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