The Macallan has announced the debut of another whisky so rare and old that most of us will never even see a bottle, let alone taste a drop: the new 1950 Exceptional Cask. It’ll go for $58,000 a bottle, which is well beyond the going rate for a bottle of Pappy right now.
The 1950 Exceptional Cask is another time capsule from the legendary Speyside Scottish distiller. The single cask of whisky was originally filled November 9, 1950, and was bottled late last year on September 24. The cask itself was a quintessential Macallan sherry butt (a large vessel that once held sherry wine) and due to its staggering age, the barley was malted with peat, making it one of the rare peated Macallan whiskies on the market.
The Exceptional Cask range of Macallan is a bit of an exception to the rule: While most of its whiskies are careful batches of multiple casks, Exceptional Cask is its answer to the single barrel—an incredible whisky from one oak vessel and one vessel only. This range has long been a boon to people searching for interesting bottles of Macallan; its releases have in the past been diverse in age and price point.
The brand is never short on exquisite and rare whiskies in its library of barrels, and these peated releases are no exception. We’ve sampled peated Macallan in the past few years, in the form of releases like the 72-year-old Macallan that came out earlier this year, or one of the half-dozen or so similarly ancient releases of the last decade, like the 50-Year-Old released a few months ago for $35,000 a bottle.
Those prices may seem outrageous, and perhaps they are, but the market is showing some people paying for these vessels of whisky history—over the last year Macallan has seen record after record broken for auctions of rare bottles. The star of most of these auctions has been the legendary Macallan 1926 vintage. Several bottles of that have sold in excess of $1 million. By comparison, the Macallan 1950 is frankly “affordable.” And it’s perhaps just as rare: Just 336 bottles have been filled for the entire world.
Is it worth the hype? We have yet to taste this whisky, but at 106.8 proof, it’s no weakling. Macallan gave these tasting notes in a release:
Aroma: Polished Antique oak, with delicate peaches and vanilla
Taste: Intense antique oak with wood spices. Orange peel zest with warm root ginger. Subtle hints of peat in the background
Finish: Long with dry sweetness and peat
As for tracking one down, well, this isn’t something you’re gonna easily find. If you don’t get one of the 336 bottles, try seeking out a bottle of Macallan Rare Cask. We like the rich, prominent sherry character, and at $300 or so, it won’t cost the same as a BMW—for now.