The Macallan releases Fine & Rare 1990, continuing a tradition of creating single malt whiskies that become legends.
It’s no small feat to pull off a perfectly aged bottle of single malt whisky. But this is exactly what The Macallan has done for years with its Fine & Rare Collection, which launched in 2002 and now includes 58 releases that date back to 1926. It’s like recording a platinum record every year—for decades—and remaining impossibly relevant and memorable.
With the release of Fine & Rare 1990, The Macallan and its whisky-making team led by Kirsteen Campbell, the first female master whisky-maker in the brand’s nearly 200-year history, created another hit to add to its collection. Matured in a single first-fill sherry-seasoned American oak butt cask for 30 years, the single malt whisky was filled on June 7, 1990, and bottled last year; it’s presented at its natural cask strength. We asked Campbell, who’s based in Glasgow, Scotland, and spends her time between The Macallan Estate and Edrington headquarters, to discuss the new release and the magic of making whiskies so steeped in history.
Please tell me a little about the Fine & Rare Collection.
It tells the story of The Macallan from 1926 through to 1993, offering insights into the aroma and flavor characteristics of our single malt over time. Each vintage is a precious reminder that we write our own stories. Success and hardship go hand in hand, and each of these wonderful whiskies stands as testimony to the people who made and nurtured them.
Can you describe the whisky’s color, nose, taste and finish?
Because [of the ways] the Fine & Rare 1990 was matured, [it has] a distinctive rosewood color and imparts aromas of sweet honey and vanilla, followed by peach, antique oak and caramelized apple. You’ll then get notes of orange, almond cake, vanilla and raisin, nutmeg, licorice and iced cinnamon buns that develop on the palate. Then leaving you with a long and complex finish with a fresh and sweet twist and gentle spice. It’s truly a remarkable and unique whisky.
With only 467 bottles of this Fine & Rare 1990, what stands out the most to you about its creation?
Fine & Rare 1990 was selected for its balance, influenced by the harmony of the spirit and its use of particular sherry-seasoned American oak casks and the time spent within. It is, absolutely, a crafted product of its era.
Tell me a little about the process of creating this rare bottle and why it goes hand in hand with The Macallan tradition.
It would never have been possible to create The Fine & Rare Collection without our unrivalled stock of outstanding old and rare whiskies. Held in the vaults of time, these stocks matured as history unfolded, quiet witnesses to a century of achievements, of triumphs and tumult, which remain anchored in our collective consciousness. Each bottle 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.
For collectors, what’s an added perk about this bottle?
As part of The Macallan’s commitment to sustainable sourcing and packaging, the Fine & Rare 1990 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.
Photography by: PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MACALLAN