We teased the news several months ago, but it’s finally here. To celebrate the opening of its gorgeous, modern new distillery and visitor center, the Macallan this month is unveiling the Genesis Decanter—at 72, the oldest whisky the company has ever bottled. Each Lalique decanter ($65,000) is handblown and designed to reflect the new distillery’s flowing rooflines, which in turn were inspired by the surrounding gentle Speyside hills. Such an aged spirit is of course deserving of a pretty package, but can a 72-year-old whisky possibly be any good?
Produced just after the end of World War II, when production at many distilleries was still halted due to the necessary wartime diversion of barley to food creation rather than drink, the spirit has a deceptively light, golden-amber color—muted over time from its original deep brownish-red sherry-barrel hue—that hints it is no ordinary single malt. Its refreshing aroma is filled with citrus and green apples, with only a very faint undercurrent of raisins. When this whisky went into barrel, the Macallan was still drying malted barley over peat fires, and so a touch of smoke intermingles with flavors of sweet oak and rich fruit.
Master distiller Nick Savage says, “Although delicate throughout all aspects, it provides an intense experience.” We’d expect no less from such an éminence grise.