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Macallan 1861 Replica

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Macallan 1861 Replica

Postby Iain » Thu Apr 10, 2003 9:30 pm

To quote from The Macallan website

"The Macallan 1861 has been created as a replica of the style, nose and flavour of an original bottle of The Macallan, distilled in 1861."

Can anyone explain how anyone today can possibly know what an 1861 Macallan tasted like?

And why no age statement on the bottle? Lots of young whiskies in there. presumably?

Note that this "no-age" Macallan retails at UK£100 - four times the price of the Mac 10 yo, and more than 3 times the price of the Mac 12 yo.

How odd.

Nice packaging though. Very 1980s...
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Postby Brigid » Fri Apr 11, 2003 2:27 pm

Iain,

A real 1861 Macallan was actually tasted in order to create the replica, although, of course, no one can ever know exactly what Macallan would have tasted like in the early 19th century.

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Postby Iain » Fri Apr 11, 2003 2:49 pm

"Real" Bridget?

But allegedly bottled by John McWilliam of Craigellachie - supposedly a shopkeeper. But no one has been able to find any record of the existence of his shop in the village in the 19th century.

And Macallan have yet to reveal evidence that they ever sold any whisky to this character.

So I was just wondering - how can anyone know what an 1861 Macallan tasted like!

And why should anyone be daft enough to pay UK£100 for a no-age Mac, when you can get a perfectly good 10 yo for Uk£20?
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Postby Rudy » Mon Apr 14, 2003 11:52 am

Hello Iain,

I can't answer your first question, but an indication for your second question: I spoke to one who had tasted the 1861 Replica. His opinion:

'When bought, this is a bottle never to be opened!'

He could not say anything positive about the taste. In his opinion, the contents did not justify the high price, and it only should be bought as a collectable. He likes the MacAllan though, so I guess the Replica will only be bought by collectors.

Rudy.
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Postby Iain » Mon Apr 14, 2003 12:55 pm

Thanks Rudy. Has anyone else tasted this no-age bottling? How did it compare to other Macallans for sale at a fraction of the price?
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Postby Laphroaig » Mon Apr 14, 2003 6:25 pm

I've tried it. It's a decent bottling. At 145.00 + tax though it's unlikely to be a staple on my shelf at home. I was told that there is supposedly a bottle of the 1861 sealed. A siringe (sp) [needle] was stuck through the cork piercing a tiny whole which resealed from such a tiny peck. A portion was extracted and the components were replicated as much as possible.

I think the question here is, do we all believe that?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Apr 15, 2003 7:02 pm

Hi Iain,

I still O U some questions, but I'm very busy. However I have a Replica 1861 too at home, and a friend of mine has a 1841 Replica of Macallan, wich we will compare those two, some time later on. How they where able to taste such a real 1861, well it was a very expensive sample they took from a real 1861, and they where quite pleased and surprised at the quality it showed them. So they brought the sample to the laboratries to investigate what aroma's could be detected, and the search for the replica had begun. What they did was sample all their casks who came quite close to the aroma criteria, and so there was abeginning of a replica. About the age, that's hard to say, I believe they majority will be between 10 til 13Y old and perhaps some older ages where used. About the price, Exclisivity, Expensive sampling, All the hard work, Some older ages, A marketing gimmick etc. well there you have it all the ingredïents for quite a high price. Well it's either you pay a 100 GBP for it, or not, it depends on what you want etc. and what you are willing to pay for it...

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Postby Iain » Wed Apr 16, 2003 8:13 am

Thanks for the info Erik. But it seems from what you say that it's basically a 10 or 12 year old Mac in a fancy bottle? A basic £Uk20-25 whisky selling for £100?
I don't accept the "replica" part of this yet, as Mac still refuse to offer any proof as to the provenance of the "original" McWilliam product.
In addition, I don't see how you could recreate the character of a Macallan distilled in 1861 using recent Mac stocks - the character of whiskies made around Speyside in the mid-19th century must be vastly different than anything made in the last 10-12 years, owing to higher peating levels, higher levels of impurities, differences in the character of the malt used, vast differences in the ability to control the distilling process and remove impurities, etc etc.
The Replicant sounds to me like an expensive gimmick packaged with some spurious pseudo-history.
But I agree if it *tastes* like it's worth UK£100, then of course it is, no matter the marketing bs. Does anyone else think it's worth it?
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Postby BruceCrichton » Wed Apr 16, 2003 6:10 pm

I tried the 10 yr old, the 1983 vintage and the 1861 versions back to back and I thought that the 10 yr old was the best.

This was in 2001.
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Postby Iain » Wed Apr 16, 2003 6:21 pm

Thanks Bruce - another Mac fan suggesting his most enjoyable Mac was actually the cheapest? (and the one with the least marketing-babble bs!).
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Postby Nic Rhodes » Wed Apr 16, 2003 6:37 pm

and I have just bought some 25 and 30 years old, looks like a mistake then Image
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Postby Rudy » Wed Apr 16, 2003 7:30 pm

Hello Nic,

I'm quite sure that buying 25y and 30y is no mistake.
Firstly, I heared great things about them, and secondly, they were distilled in the 70's(or even earlier), the years I like for the 18y.

Old MacPhail bottlings were actually MacAllan. Sampled once a glass of a late 60's/70's distillate. So similar to yours but bottled at a much younger age.
It really looks like you're going to enjoy some memorable whisky!

Cheers!

Rudy.
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Postby dirk » Wed Apr 16, 2003 9:17 pm

Yeah, so some memorable whiksy too I think. About the age, that's hard to say, I believe they majority will be between 10 til 13Y old and perhaps some older ages where used. About the price, Exclisivity, Expensive sampling, All the hard work, Some older ages, well there you have it all the ingredïents for quite a high price. Well it's either you pay a 100 GBP for it, or not, it depends on what you want etc. and what you are willing to pay for it...For me I would pay the most for this for sure it will be so good don't you think ?

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Postby Iain » Thu Apr 17, 2003 7:53 am

I remember the G&M bottlings that the G&M reps said was sourced from Macallan, Rudy. I think it was bottled as Glen Avon? An excellent dram - and not expensive!

Do G&M still bottle Mac and if so, under what name?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Apr 17, 2003 9:54 am

You are right Iain, in your way of thinking, but after all it's a replica, and it's a true art for the people from The Macallan to approach the real McCoy from 1861, it's more like, how am I gonna put this, a reflection of the past, nothing more and nothing less. For example take their Travel Series(20's,30's,40's and 50's), it's just a reflection. Ofcourse you can't make them just like the original(then they have to put a large amount of The Macallan 1926 in it, well I wish they did, and still pay the same price as the Travel Series), that is allways very dificult and very expensive. But what you can do is, make a reflection from it..

Slainte,

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Postby BruceCrichton » Thu Apr 17, 2003 5:36 pm

I've got to stand up for Macallan.

I had Macallan 10 yr old just the other week. As I wasn't born until 1974, I can't comment on the older stuff but the 10 yr old is fantastic.

I also had some Macallan 12 yr old last year in Holland and it was excellent. It settles the question, with water or without? With a funnel or without, more like.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Apr 17, 2003 8:29 pm

Join the club Bruce, and see the topics "fake Macallan"(collector corner) and "the decline of the Macallan"(questions and answers).

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Postby Rudy » Fri Apr 18, 2003 8:59 pm

Hello Iain,

G&M never officially disclosed the provenance of their Glen Avon or MacPhail's bottlings, only that is was a Speyside. Of MacPhails is known that it could contain different malts, depending on when it was bottled. I sampled MacPhail's from MacAllan once. Currently I only know they bottle MacAllan under their Speymalt label.

dirk, Erik,

what about the re-creation of the traveller series? From twenties to fifties, four expressions recreated in half litre bottles for only €35. That's worth a try. How come the 1861 replica is so much more expensive?
If they are so into re-creating at MacAllan, please let them re-create the taste of the 12y so many people cherish but can not find any longer...

Rudy.
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Postby WhiskyHill » Sat Apr 19, 2003 1:14 pm

I'm pretty sure that the MacPhail's Single Malt (at least the 15 year old at 40%) is a bottling of Glenfarclas. The dumpy square bottle is identical to s couple of c.1985 bottles of Glenfarclas that I've bought in the states, and the flavour profile was very much in line with a Glenfarclas. G&M has been tagging their undisclosed Macallan bottlings as "Speymalt".
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Postby Rudy » Sat Apr 19, 2003 6:02 pm

Hello WhiskyHill,

I don't doubt you had Glenfarclas in your MacPhail's.

The sample I tasted was from some strange old inventory that turned up again. I remember normal, magnum, half, square and small hip sized bottles, at different ages. These were not for sale anymore. I was told they were MacAllan and I recognised some characteristics from an odd 12y OB MacAllan I have. That is a 1 litre bottle and it appeared later is was a dutyfree bottling for Hong Kong. The box and bottle were turned brown and dirty, but it was the best 12y MacAllan I ever tasted. If MacAllan will re-create this taste again and sell it for the price of a 12y, I'll be a big MacAllan fan again.

Rudy.

[This message has been edited by Rudy (edited 19 April 2003).]
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Postby old rarity » Mon May 12, 2003 11:52 pm

In response to Iain's original question, I have tasted the 1861 Replica. Not the "original" of course, but the Replica, yes. It is good, but not dramatically different from the regular Macallans, in my view. The packaging is luxurious and must have added a lot to the price. The whisky is rich, very clean (maybe too much?) and has an interesting, complex rosewater taste in the background, something that seems different from the regular issue, but hardly worth spending so much more money for. Frankly, I would have tasted a historic bottling of Macallan from say the 1920's (where origin can be assured) to detect the character of a 1800's Macallan. Because, in those days, things changed very slowly: I'm sure a Macallan in 1925 would have been the same essentially as one from 50 years earlier.
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Postby Nic Rhodes » Tue May 13, 2003 6:24 pm

I must admit to thinking these 'replicas' do nothing to enhance MaCallans reputation for me, I just see it a marketing hype and it puts me off other bottlings. Am I alone in this?
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Postby Rudy » Tue May 13, 2003 7:28 pm

Hello Nic,

no, you're not alone!

MacAllan is not on my wish list anymore, except for 8yo OB and 18yo OB from 197x. I only bought the traveller series last year out of curiosity but that's it.

So, practically, I don't expect to buy MacAllan any longer.

Rudy.
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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Wed May 14, 2003 8:28 am

It is, of course, a marketing basic that you sell the sizzle , not the steak.

In other words, you appeal to the perceptions of the customers, to their emotional response, to the way that using or consumimng the producty makes them feel - and so the packaging, the image, the price all are used to create an impression that you are a pretty cool dude if you use/consume the product.

For instance, I was recently at a factory in Sweden which was producing a new mens toiletry for a world famous brand. The key problem they faced was coming up with packaging that would persuade customers at the point of sale that they were buying a top quality product. They told us that producing the product cost 35 US cents. A year later I saw the product in a drug store in New York priced at $US 12.95.

And to demonstrate the quirkiness of human nature you can, of course, buy a Parker ballpoint pen for a few dollars - or you can buy one for hundreds of dollars, you pay your money you take your choice. But the refill, the component that actually writes, is precisely the same. Some of us would go for the cheap packaging, some for the expensive - that's what free choice is all about.

So you cannot blame the Macallan for using smoke and mirrors to convince people that they have faithfully replicated an extremely old whisky and thay it is worth an arm and a leg. It is not Macallan's fault if people are stupid enough to fall for the hype.

The rest of us can either stick to one of the more recent Macallans, or if we feel strongly that the Macallan have lost the thread we can buy another brand.

Cheers

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Postby Alan » Fri May 16, 2003 7:21 pm

Ladies and Gents,
I tried the 1861 and thought it was excellent. I certainly found that there were elements that are absent from the 10 or 12 year old. I seem to recall Jackson finding "spice cupboard" notes, and I agree. There is an "Oriental" or "Middle Eastern" flavour which I loved. Rich and complex.
Now as to the price........
Some have you feel that this is overpriced, and I agree. The lack of an age statement is troubling, although perhaps Macallan wanted to lend a "timeless" feeling to this product. That is, the original 1861 didn't have a statment, so they were trying to be "authentic". Having said that, one wonders if the odd 5 or 6 year old cask found its way into the vatting. Additionally, could some expense have been spared if the elaborate packaging had been abandoned? I think so.
An excellent product, but never worth the money. And as someone pointed out, aimed squarely at the collector market, which is a shame.
Alan.
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Postby Iain » Fri May 16, 2003 9:27 pm

Interesting point, Rudolph. I am sure those folks who are willing to shell out £8,800 on a peculiar bottle will be reassured to learn that it is not Macallan's fault that they are so stupid to fall for Macallan's hype.

And Alan - it grieves me greatly to hear that the 1861 Macallan is not worth the money. But think how much you would have complained if you had been daft enough to buy the "original"!

At the risk of sounding pompous, my advice to all would be - stick to a brand with a track record for integrity.
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Postby old rarity » Sat May 17, 2003 6:42 am

Well, it is a question maybe of the law of diminishing returns.. The vatting represented by the 1861 is unique but can one justify such a price..? The 12 year old is about 1/4 the price and is very similar is palate (thick, rich sherry-dominated spirit). The 1861 is lighter and more subtle, but just a little in relation to the increment requested.. So this is why I conclude the luxury packaging has contributed to the price differential very largely. And the bottle is handsome, elegant, certainly. So are in a lesser way the label designs of the Decade Series, but their price is far more reasonable. Let's put it this way: if Macallan put in those half-litre bottles their 1800's series "unadorned" and sold them for a reasonable premium over the Decade Series to satisy the connoisseur market whose pockets are not unlimited, that would show more of a commitment to the discerning part of the market. But I fear the company has judged, correctly, that the market is small in relation to the well-heeled crowd willing to pay big bucks for luxury whisky in luxury packaging. The latter market is tiny too but the margins no doubt make it worthwhile to bother with these unique vattings. Anyway, returning to the palate issue, I say Macallan, any expression, has to be one of the best whiskies around. It is a thoroughbred by any definition, an aristocrat of the genre..


[This message has been edited by old rarity (edited 17 May 2003).]
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Postby Alan » Sat May 17, 2003 6:06 pm

Hi,
Well Iain, I never meant to cause you no pain. I'm simply talking about value, and meant no disrespect to the product itself. As Old Rarity states, all the expressions of Macallan, without exception, represent the highest achievement of the distiller's art.
To suggest, as Huurman does, that the cost of the 1861 Replica is a reflection of "expensive sampling..[and]..hard work" is, at the risk of sounding patronizing, naive. Any costs incurred would easily be made up by sales. There is just as much sampling and blending involved in producing the 12 year old. Remember that they used existing casks to create the replica. Additionally, we don't even know if their "experiment" was successfull.
Again, I think that the 1861 Replica is excellent. But for whisky that is probably 10-12 years old, one hundred pounds is too much.
Alan.
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Postby Iain » Sun May 18, 2003 8:40 am

No pain Alan - I agree with everything you say!
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