Speymalt from Macallan Distillery, Vintage 1998, Bottled in 2016, 43% ABV by Gordon & MacPhail

Color: a medium golden amber.

Nose: a soft pepper is the first scent appreciated, followed by sweet dried fruit, reminiscent of apricots and raisins, with a hint of cocoa. Very little alcohol present in the nose, which isn't surprising given the modest 43% ABV. A few drops of water reduce the pepper and bring out the cocoa a bit more.

Palate: a soft pepper at first, followed by a sherry casked fruity sweetness before delivering a light subtle chocolate that was suggested on the nose. I was waiting for the fruitiness to get big in the middle as this whisky was casked in first fill sherry casks, but it didn't. Adding a few drops of water brought out a very subtle anise and clove spiciness and softened the whisky a bit.

Finish: long and somewhat creamy. After adding the few drops of water, a soft spiciness along the lines of anise and clove were added to the creamy finish.

Upon reflection, the few drops of water are a must as it seemed to improve the experience of tasting this whisky.

I obtained my bottle of this offering by the private bottlers at Gordon & MacPhail at about $115, which would be a phenomenal price if this whisky aged nearly 18 years were as good as the distillery's traditional Macallan 18 Years.  The spirit is light to medium bodied, offers a mild, pleasant flavor, but overall, is disappointing to me as I have come to expect greater flavor in whiskies from G&M, which does such nice work with the spirits of nearly every good distillery in Scotland, especially from the Speyside region of the Highlands. That is not to say that this isn't a decent whisky, it just didn't meet my expectations of a richly flavored nearly 18 year old, Sherry casked whisky born of Macallan spirit.

A visit to the G&M website will bring up the notes of the purveyors about this whisky, which I reviewed after preparing the above notes. I found that beyond the apricot, pepper and cocoa, my notes differed greatly. Get yourself a dram and let me know what you think. Slainte mhath!