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I haven't tasted the two head-to-head yet - actually, I'm unlikely ever to have the chance to, but he's not the only person to tell me that there's a big difference in the vintages.
Several people whose judgement I trust, as well as the maltmadness site, say that the St Magdalene 1979/1998 Rare Malts (64%ish ABV) is the best malt to be found. At £70 it's twice my monthly budget, so I'll either have to be disciplined and skip a whisky month (some chance) or find some excuse to buy it....
Matt Page wrote:Hi Maltmania,
They were in reverse order .....
5. Ardbeg Provenance 55.8%
4. Highland Park 18 year old 40%
3. Springbank 35 year old 46%
2. Talisker 20 year old 58.8%
1. The Macallan 18 year old 43%
The macallan 18 is one of the best IMO the last dram i had was fantastic. but i wasnt aware of the difference in vintages as pointed out below. thoughts on the poorer vintages?
Suddenly, the 1981 saw a big drop in quality. It was still a great whisky mind you, but not as good as the previous releases. The 1982 and '83 improved slightly, but they were still sub-par compared to what the 18yo Macallan was known to be.
The 1984 was a welcome return to favour. This was followed by the 1985, although the '85 was not actually a strict vintage....the label clearly stated that whisky from other years were included in the vatting.
Likewise the 1986, although - as already pointed out - not many people I know think the '86 is a good drop.
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