The Macallan Releases Fine & Rare 1990 Edition

by Phillip Galyean

The Macallan has introduced an exceptional new single malt whisky into its iconic Fine & Rare Collection with the launch of The 1990 Edition. Matured in a single sherry seasoned American oak butt cask for 30 years, The Macallan Fine & Rare 1990 marks the latest addition to the largest assembly of vintage-dated, single malt whiskies in the world. Filled on June 7th, 1990 and bottled in 2021, this extraordinary single cask whisky is presented at its natural cask strength.

Launched in 2002, The Macallan Fine & Rare Collection comprises 58 individual releases spanning eight decades, from the 1926, a whisky of legendary status, to the most recent release, the 1990, exemplifying the richness of The Macallan’s legacy.  

Scarce and finite, these bottlings are the creations of skilled generations of craftspeople and make up a family of remarkable individuals. They embody a whisky history of The Macallan, offering insights into the distinctive aroma and flavor characteristics of the single malt over time and revealing The Macallan’s dedication to uncompromised excellence for nearly 200 years.

Last year The Macallan worked with one of the world’s leading fashion photographers, Tim Walker to create a set of captivating photographs to depict the spirit of the 20th century. A bottle from each of the eight decades was photographed with subtle complementary objects that reflect the era, culminating in a picture of the full collection on the banks of the River Spey. A portrait of David Cox, a former director of The Macallan and the architect of the historic collection, completed the incredible photography set. 

For the launch of the 1990 Edition, The Macallan has worked with the photographer again to capture unique photography of the exquisite new release. The exceptionally rare whisky takes centre stage in a photograph that pays tribute to the year the single malt was distilled.  

After the see-sawing extremes of the 1980s, it was a calmer year of considerable progress. From space, the Hubble telescope’s penetrating vision advanced understanding of the universe as never before. From South Africa came news of Nelson Mandela’s release and, from Germany, the vote to reunify. At home in Scotland, Glasgow saw the grand opening of its new Royal Concert Hall in the heart of the city. Its opening gala performance was attended by Princess Anne, and concert after concert sent Scottish audiences’ appreciation soaring.  

The Macallan’s richly flavored notes were equally well received, as both the story of the single malt and the spirit itself spread across the globe. Actor Bill Paterson raised a dram in The Witches and ‘Spirit of the Age’, launched in San Francisco, raised the brand’s profile in America.  

Kirsteen Campbell, Master Whisky Maker at The Macallan, said: “The Macallan Fine & Rare Collection is inspired by our whisky-making legacy. These 58 unique vintages are products of nature’s gentle process, undisturbed for decades in sherry seasoned oak casks. Held in the vaults of time, they were left to slumber as The Macallan’s history unfolded and they have been nurtured by nature to achieve perfection. Fine & Rare 1990 will now join its distinguished predecessors and I am honored to play a part in crafting this incomparable collection.”

The distinctive natural rosewood color of The Macallan Fine & Rare 1990 is a result of time spent in the first fill sherry seasoned American oak butt cask. It imparts aromas of sweet honey and vanilla followed by peach and raspberry tart, antique oak, orange oil and caramelized apple. Orange and almond cake, vanilla and raisin, leather and forest fruits, nutmeg and liquorice and iced cinnamon buns develop on the palate. The finish is long, interesting and complex, with a fresh and sweet twist and gentle spice. 

With only 467 bottles available, Fine & Rare 1990 features the cask number, year of distillation and year of bottling printed on the label, while the age, strength and volume are all handwritten in keeping with the tradition that began when the collection was born. Each bottle is encased in an FSC certified European oak presentation box which also contains information on how to record a Vintage Macallan Fine & Rare bottle in The Macallan Vintage Bottle Register in Easter Elchies House, the spiritual home of the brand located on The Macallan Estate.

As part of The Macallan’s commitment to sustainable sourcing and packaging, production of the distinctive wooden Fine & Rare box has been repatriated to the UK, which will greatly reduce transit carbon emissions. The Fine & Rare 1990 box has been produced in England by Moran’s Wood Components, a family run manufacturing business dedicated to craftsmanship and social and environmental responsibility.

The Macallan 1990 Edition will be available globally starting November 8th, 2021 for an SRP of $17,921 at The Macallan Estate Boutique, The Macallan global travel retail Boutiques and select bars and restaurants and exclusive retailers.

Whisky Maker’s Notes: 

  • Color: Rosewood
  • Aroma: Sweet honey and vanilla followed by peach and raspberry tart, antique oak, orange oil and caramelized apple
  • Palate: Orange and almond cake, vanilla and raisin, leather and forest fruits, nutmeg and liquorice and iced cinnamon buns
  • Finish: Long, interesting and complex with a fresh and sweet twist and gentle spice
  • ABV: 54.9%

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