Robb Report Online

These Experimental Distilleries Are Using Science to Artificially Age Whiskies

From soundwaves to pulses, nothing is off limits.

BY JEMIMA SISSONS ON MAY 9, 2019

Something is afoot on the banks of the Kentucky River. In a soot-covered building called Warehouse P, an experiment is taking place: Hundreds of barrels filled with bourbon and whiskey lie in somnolent rows. The temperature is a constantly frigid 45 degrees. And time, it seems, is slowing down.

Warehouse P is the love child of Buffalo Trace (aka the maker of some of our favorite whiskeys, such as Pappy Van Winkle) and Last Drop Distillers, a London-based spirits company that specializes in unearthing old and rare casks. The duo has come together amid the Frankfort uplands with a common goal: to bring Scotland’s cool conditions, which are ideal for slow and even whiskey maturation, to American spirits.

Kentucky’s drastic temperatures, which fluctuate between 100 degrees in the summer and 0 degrees in the winter, have a mercurial effect on the aging process of spirits. Warm weather pulls the resting liquid deep into the barrel staves, exposing it to the character of the wood, while cold weather pushes the liquid back out, imbuing the flavors of oak into its makeup. The ever-changing alchemy makes over-aging a risk—and it’s the reason most bourbons are aged between four and 12 years. By regulating the temperature year-round, however, Warehouse P has the potential to craft the oldest whiskeys in American history.

“American bourbons that have been matured for up to 50 years simply do not exist,” says Rebecca Jago, joint managing director of Last Drop. “We’re hoping to achieve something that has previously been impossible: super-aged, high-quality and delicious American whiskeys.” Patience will no doubt be a requirement in this lengthy (and costly) trial: Last Drop doesn’t intend to release its first bottle for at least 25 years—and what it will taste like is anybody’s guess. Says Jago: “This is clearly an experiment and, as such, the outcome cannot be guaranteed.”

Israel’s Milk & Honey is making fast work of aging spirits. Daniel Bar-On

Last Drop isn’t the only mad scientist in spirits. Other distillers are tinkering with the aging process with the reverse intention: to mature whiskey in only a few years—or a few minutes. Halfway around the world in Israel, Milk & Honey is betting that the hot and humid climate of Tel Aviv can produce a (nearly) proper whiskey in record time. Last year, its Young Single Malt—which matured for months, not years—won second place at the Whisky Live Tel Aviv show. The awarded spirit is so young, in fact, it can’t even technically be called a whisky—that term is reserved for liquids that have been aged a minimum of three years—but its smoky, complex flavors have garnered fans nonetheless.

Venturing further into science-fair territory, meanwhile, are Chris Mendenhall’s whiskeys and bourbons, which the master mixologist “ages” at the Ritz-Carlton, Washington, DC’s Quadrant bar using sound waves. “I discovered that sound waves could accelerate aging,” he says, explaining that the waves “push” the liquid through the wood of the barrels to change the qualities of the spirit. “It led me to research distilleries and whiskey makers who are using advanced technology, such as pressure and sound waves, to expedite the aging process.” Mendenhall’s first release, Bourbon Style #1, is a 120-proof, 9-year-old Kentucky bourbon “base spirit” that’s been exposed to 20,000 pulses per second over 30 1977 1989 minutes in his customized homogenizer. The result is a richer and more rounded spirit that tastes years beyond its age.

Of course, not everyone is on board with these spirited experiments. Bourbon and whiskey purists, not to mention organizations like the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), remain skeptical that the aging process can—or should—be manipulated. “For many years, people have attempted to speed up the aging process, because time is money,” says Frank Coleman, a senior vice president at DISCUS. “But most have been unsuccessful because we are talking about a natural process.”

That said, we raise a glass to the spirit of adventure.

THE WHISKEY LIFESTYLE

THE LAST DROP DISCOVERS 1969 GLENROTHES CASKS 

by  Rashaun Hall 

May 29, 2019

The folks at The Last Drop Distillers are back at it with a new release that sounds more rare than a pair of cement Jordan 3s.

They recently announced the launch of their newest release, the 1969 Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Whisky. The second in an exclusive trilogy following the 1968 Single Malt Scotch Whisky, this will mark The Last Drop’s 15th release in 11 years and comprises two single cask bottlings.

On October 27th, 1969 in the beautiful Speyside region in the Highlands of Scotland, the master distiller at the renowned Glenrothes Distillery pronounced himself satisfied with the distillate produced that day and approved the filling of a number of barrels. Two of these ex-bourbon casks were left undisturbed to spend the next fifty years maturing at the back of the dark warehouse. It was only when The Last Drop discovered the liquid that its true excellence was revealed. It was bottled in 2019 with the first cask yielding 130 bottles, and the second cask 141 bottles, making a total of just 271 bottles available worldwide.

Despite being sibling casks, the results are two similar, but distinctly individual whiskies. Prominent whisky writer and educator Charles Maclean shares his tasting notes of the two, stating that both casks display similar aromatic profiles, but Cask no. 16203 appears drier and less fruity, with snuffed candle at the base, whereas Cask no. 16207 has a smooth texture, with a sweet and sour taste and a long, warming finish. 

“We are delighted with the second of our trilogy of old Glenrothes single malts. Only a very fortunate few will have the chance to sample these exceptional spirits, which are wonderful examples of fine distilling from the 1960s. Each sip transports you back to the heady days of flower power, when revolution was in the air, and on the radio. We commend to all those who truly appreciate the scent and taste of a magnificent old Scotch from a bygone era. You will not be disappointed.”

As with all of The Last Drop releases, each bottle comes together with its signature 50ml miniature replica and pocket sized, leather bound tasting book with additional pages for your personal tasting notes.

The release will retail for $6,250 and can be purchased at www.lastdropdistillers.com/stockists.

ARCADIA ONLINE

The Last Drop Distillers Release no. 15: 1969 Glenrothes

23 May, 2019 by Lawrence Head

It is said that a magician can perform his star trick only once but I have found the exception this rule. Having been fortunate enough to attend a previous Last Drop Distillers launch and tasting for their 1982 Year Old Buffalo Trace bourbon, I thought that the aforementioned adage must surely hold. I was woefully mistaken. Last Drop have done it again, and bottled a 1969 Glenrothes at its absolute peak. This is not something to be taken lightly, as to know when a scotch has reached the apex of its maturation is a real art form. This is the moment to strike, and go to bottle, and its an art form that the team at Last Drop Distillers – run by the industry titan James Espey OBE – has mastered.

The 1969 Glenrothes is the 15th release from The Last Drop Distillers and has set tongues wagging amongst brand fans, press and experts alike. The Last Drop team, in typical explorative fashion, ventured into the dark, dank and dusty recesses of the Glenrothes warehouse in the heart of Speyside to search for a gem. I imagine this moment to have been like a whisky version of the closing scene of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, where the ark is safely hidden by virtue of camouflage in a sea of identical wooden crates. As luck would have it, when these two barrels were selected and opened out poured an amber nectar of divine depth and quality rather than a malevolent ‘spirit’ (pun intended) which melts the face off those who dare disturb its oaken slumber.

These two specially selected ex-bourbon casks escaped the fate many of their equally elderly kin and were not blended with younger spirit to form a more youthful age statement release from the distillery itself. Instead, their 50 year old content survived up to the point of maturation and now can be found within The Last Drop’s handsome new bottles. What makes this tale positively quiver with even more ethereal mystery is the fact that the whisky from both barrels, despite being, on paper, identical, is remarkably distinct. ‘Cask no. 16207’ has a rich, smooth texture with a sweet and sour flavour emanating from dried fruits, meanwhile the ‘Cask no. 16203’ is drier, and less fruity, with a white pepper that crackles on the palate throughout its remarkably long finish.

A sumptuous supper was laid on for the eager eyed press in attendance for this exclusive tasting. The chosen venue on this occasion was the private dining room at Jackson Boxer’s brand new restaurant, Orasay, found at 31 Kensington Park Road. We were plied with a range of dishes which paid homage to Scotland including delicately flavoured rock oysters and a beautiful turbot before our gaze fell upon the tasting glasses. Silence reigned as each guest nosed and then tasted this truly remarkable whisky. I was once told that a reasonable rule of thumb when tasting a whisky of this advanced age was to hold the spirit in your mouth, drawing it back and forth across the tongue and allowing in a little air, for an equal amount of seconds as that particular whisky is old i.e. 50 seconds in this instance. Of course this 15th release did not disappoint and every guest sat dumbstruck and with an expression of hypontised bliss.

I get the impression that the gang at The Last Drop Distillers have some serious firepower under their bonnet and are just getting warmed up. I am confident that I am just one amongst many who watch this space with great anticipation for release number 16. In the meantime, this, the 15th release has an RRP of £5,400 and UK stockists can be found at www.lastdropdistillers.com/stockists.

arcadia 1.jpeg

THE WHISKY WASH

Rare Whisky Specialist Last Drop Showcases 1969 Glenrothes Scotch Whisky

By Nino Marchetti / May 28, 2019

Last Drop Distillers has made a name for itself in recent years in whisky collector circles as a brand capable of bringing to market small batch releases of rare spirits, be it whisk(e)y or whatever else. Their acquisition by Sazerac some years back seems not to have fazed their mission at all, and now the latest fruit of their sourcing labors are a pair of Scotch single malt whisky casks laid down by the Glenrothes distillery back in 1969.

The Last Drop 1969 Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Whisky, according to those behind it, was put into barrel back in October, 1969, at the Glenrothes distillery in Scotland’s Speyside region. Of the various casks that were laid down in that era, two ex-bourbon casks were to end up remaining undisturbed in an aging warehouse for the next half century before being “discovered” and bottled up this year. The two casks in question, #16203 and #16207, yielded just 130 and 141 bottlings, respectively, for a total of just 271 bottles being released worldwide. It is the second in an exclusive trilogy Last Drop is offering up that’s tied to older whisky from this distillery.

Last Drop 1969 Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Whisky (image via Last Drop Distillers)

Last Drop 1969 Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Whisky (image via Last Drop Distillers)

“We are delighted with the second of our trilogy of old Glenrothes single malts,” said the Last Drop Distillers team in a prepared statement. “Only a very fortunate few will have the chance to sample these exceptional spirits, which are wonderful examples of fine distilling from the 1960s. Each sip transports you back to the heady days of flower power, when revolution was in the air, and on the radio. We commend to all those who truly appreciate the scent and taste of a magnificent old Scotch from a bygone era. You will not be disappointed.”

Plans call for a boxed set for each bottle, holding not just the full size expression itself but also a signature 50ml miniature replica and pocket sized, leather bound tasting book with additional pages for your personal tasting notes. Each set is pricing at $6,250. It should be noted that, despite being sibling casks, there are said to be “similar aromatic profiles, but Cask no. 16203 appears drier and less fruity, with snuffed candle at the base, whereas Cask no. 16207 has a smooth texture, with a sweet and sour taste and a long, warming finish.”

FORBES

Best New Whiskies To Drink This Spring

BRAD JAPHE

This spring is an especially auspicious time for whisky enthusiasts seeking something new. On shelf at your local liquor store are a parade of labels you probably haven't seen before. Many of them are worth taking home with you. And since these releases run the gamut of prices--ranging from the cost of two tickets to movie night all the way up to the re-sale value of a lightly used car--there's something to satisfy every budget. Here's a look at the season's most exciting offerings, and what you can expect to taste when you're ready to pour.

The Last Drop Distillers 1969 Glenrothes Single Malt Whisky -- $6,250

If budgetary constraints are of no concern, you ought to consider the newest release from The Last Drop. The London-based company is a connoisseur's dream brought to life; dedicated to the procurement of impossibly rare stocks of aged spirit that will never exist again. This month they unveiled a 50-year-old Speyside malt sourced entirely from two casks at the Glenrothes distillery. The first barrel yielded just 130 bottles of whisky. The second, 141. So an allotment of only 271 will make its way across the globe. If you're lucky enough to snag one you can expect smooth texture, light hints of cigar smoke, and the ineffable umami complexities that only half a century's worth of maturation can deliver.

1969 GLENROTHES SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY, CASKS 16203 & 16207  THE LAST DROP DISTILLERS

1969 GLENROTHES SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY, CASKS 16203 & 16207

THE LAST DROP DISTILLERS

ROBB REPORT

These Experimental Distilleries Are Using Science to Artificially Age Whiskies

From sound-waves to pulses, nothing is off limits.

BY JEMIMA SISSONS

MAY 9, 2019

Something is afoot on the banks of the Kentucky River. In a soot-covered building called Warehouse P, an experiment is taking place: Hundreds of barrels filled with bourbon and whiskey lie in somnolent rows. The temperature is a constantly frigid 45 degrees. And time, it seems, is slowing down.

Warehouse P is the love child of Buffalo Trace (aka the maker of some of our favourite whiskeys, such as Pappy Van Winkle) and Last Drop Distillers, a London-based spirits company that specializes in unearthing old and rare casks. The duo has come together amid the Frankfort uplands with a common goal: to bring Scotland’s cool conditions, which are ideal for slow and even whiskey maturation, to American spirits.

Kentucky’s drastic temperatures, which fluctuate between 100 degrees in the summer and 0 degrees in the winter, have a mercurial effect on the ageing process of spirits. Warm weather pulls the resting liquid deep into the barrel staves, exposing it to the character of the wood, while cold weather pushes the liquid back out, imbuing the flavours of oak into its makeup. The ever-changing alchemy makes over-ageing a risk—and it’s the reason most bourbons are aged between four and 12 years. By regulating the temperature year-round, however, Warehouse P has the potential to craft the oldest whiskeys in American history.

“American bourbons that have been matured for up to 50 years simply do not exist,” says Rebecca Jago, joint managing director of Last Drop. “We’re hoping to achieve something that has previously been impossible: super-aged, high-quality and delicious American whiskeys.” Patience will no doubt be a requirement in this lengthy (and costly) trial: Last Drop doesn’t intend to release its first bottle for at least 25 years—and what it will taste like is anybody’s guess. Says Jago: “This is clearly an experiment and, as such, the outcome cannot be guaranteed.”

Last Drop isn’t the only mad scientist in spirits. Other distillers are tinkering with the ageing process with the reverse intention: to mature whiskey in only a few years—or a few minutes. Halfway around the world in Israel, Milk & Honey is betting that the hot and humid climate of Tel Aviv can produce a (nearly) proper whiskey in record time. Last year, its Young Single Malt—which matured for months, not years—won second place at the Whisky Live Tel Aviv show. The awarded spirit is so young, in fact, it can’t even technically be called a whisky—that term is reserved for liquids that have been aged a minimum of three years—but its smoky, complex flavours have garnered fans nonetheless.

Venturing further into science-fair territory, meanwhile, are Chris Mendenhall’s whiskeys and bourbons, which the master mixologist “ages” at the Ritz-Carlton, Washington, DC’s Quadrant bar using sound waves. “I discovered that sound waves could accelerate ageing,” he says, explaining that the waves “push” the liquid through the wood of the barrels to change the qualities of the spirit. “It led me to research distilleries and whiskey makers who are using advanced technology, such as pressure and sound waves, to expedite the ageing process.” Mendenhall’s first release, Bourbon Style #1, is a 120-proof, 9-year-old Kentucky bourbon “base spirit” that’s been exposed to 20,000 pulses per second over 30 1977 1989 minutes in his customized homogenizer. The result is a richer and more rounded spirit that tastes years beyond its age.

Of course, not everyone is on board with these spirited experiments. Bourbon and whiskey purists, not to mention organizations like the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), remain skeptical that the ageing process can—or should—be manipulated. “For many years, people have attempted to speed up the ageing process, because time is money,” says Frank Coleman, a senior vice president at DISCUS. “But most have been unsuccessful because we are talking about a natural process.”

That said, we raise a glass to the spirit of adventure.

Israel’s Milk & Honey is making fast work of ageing spirits.

Israel’s Milk & Honey is making fast work of ageing spirits.

CONDE NASTE TRAVELER (US)

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How to Taste the World's Rarest Whiskeys

by JENNY ADAMS

May 7, 2019

Rare whiskey tastings are moving beyond Scotland.

The most expensive whisky sold to-date was a bottle of Macallan 1926, purchased in the autumn of 2018 in a London auction at Christie’s for a cool $1.1 million. Rare whiskey has been a hot commodity around the globe for a while, with pre-Prohibition American bottles and Japanese vintage labels entering auction houses in droves, and going for eye-watering prices (like the 50-year-old bottle of Yamazaki Japanese single malt that sold for nearly $275,000 at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong last year). Of course, that's if you can get them at all—collectors generally snap up the releases of the 17-year-old Eagle Rare bourbon before the company can even put them on the market.

Whether you’re a whiskey hound or just curious, it might seem as though having a sip of something rare will be impossible in this lifetime, unless you’ve got millions of dollars or millions of connections. But if you’re willing to travel for it—rather than purchase it for your private collection—you’re in luck. A growing number of restaurants and bars around the world offer rare whiskey tastings that will give you a chance to try these auction-worthy spirits at far more attainable prices—and an arguably better setting—with food pairings. With travelers planning more trips around coveted restaurant reservations (we see you, Noma), why not up your game and plan one in the name of drinking rare whiskey? From northern California to the American South to London, here’s our list of rare whiskey tastings worth traveling for.

Hidden Speakeasy: AMA in Miami

You’ll need to book a month in advance for one of the nine seats inside of AMA—the hidden speakeasy inside Miami’s Japanese restaurant, Kaido, where midnight-blue banquettes and bleached-shell chandeliers create a backdrop for a tasting of vintage Japanese whiskies. Chef and owner Brad Kilgore creates these cocktail tastings for $95 a person; but for more ambitious gastronomes, try the Amakase Ultra Rare Vintage Pairing ($220), available Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. This omakase dinner comes with special one-ounce pairings, such as a 1969 Suntory Reserve Limited, the 1985 Nikka Tsukuba Expo, and the 1982 Suntory Kakubin. “These are no longer made, and are extremely difficult to find,” Kilgore says.

The 404 Whiskey Society in Nashville, TN

Chef Matt Bolus of The 404 Kitchenis known for award-winning food that infuses traditional European techniques with local, southern flavors. He has curated one of Nashville's most enviable whiskey lists, and you can easily drop $300 on a single glass on a regular night out. But for his hand-picked barrel selections, you’ve got to join his 404 Whiskey Society. Membership, available to anyone, requires you purchase at least four bottles per year to store in your own private locker at the bar. The private parties, intimate dinners, distiller meet-and-greets, and private tastings of Bolus’ personal barrels are other benefits. “I’m working on acquiring an Irish barrel now that I’ve never seen in the United States,” Bolus tellsTraveler.

Custom Tastings at Acme Bar & Company in Berkeley, CA

Acme Bar & Company is known far and wide to serious American whiskey lovers, who come for its collection of rare allotments, and to sip them in a warm, rustic setting in Berkeley. It’s home to many tough-to-find labels thanks to owner Jennifer Seidman’s relationships with distillers—it’s the only bar in the world to offer the coveted, high-end releases of Charbay I through Charbay V, for example. Seidman will go a step further for the curious drinker, and customize a tasting, starting at an approachable $60 per person. They can go upwards of $1,000, served alongside fine chocolates, charcuterie, and cheese, if you want to try the really rare bottles. And if you want to start your collection, this, too, is the place. “Just as sommeliers help people curate their wine cellars, I provide a similar service, curating personal American and international whiskey collections,” Seidman says. Not only will she hunt down rare bottles for your home, but also build you that custom home bar, too.

Scotch oyster shooters at NICO in Charleston, SC

Nico Oysters + Seafoodserves adult-styled shooters, thoughtful pairings of small-farm, cold-water oysters with select Scotch whiskys in Charleston. Inside the sunny, nautical-chic dining room, the sommelier might advise a White Stone oyster from Virginia with a peaty, Bowmore 12 Year. Or a Mookie Blue from Maine with a honey-toned Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or. The rarest pairing is a Toogoodoo Oyster with a glass of Ardbeg 21-Year-Old Single Malt Special Committee Only Edition. The whiskey has smoke and black pepper, with a finish of light anise and the oyster is wonderfully briny, with hints of minerality. One of the nicest things about this experience is how easy it is to access. There’s no need to call ahead, unless you’d like to reserve a table. The staff is happy to lead you through the Scotch Oyster experience any time you visit. Prices are based upon availability and choice of single malt.

Attend a ‘Whiskey Tales’ Talk in London

Last Drop Distillers are a company of true “spirit hunters,” who use a lifetime of connections in the liquor industry to track down very old, very small allotments. “We get calls from families that they have inherited a barrel and want to sell it,” says Rebecca Jago, joint managing director. “Other times, it’s a defunct distillery, where there’s a few barrels left full of whiskey. We travel and taste it on site, and then we taste again in our London offices. If it’s truly worthy, we will bottle it under our label, The Last Drop, to make it available for people to experience.”

Last Drop launched an ongoing, invite-only speaker series and tasting this spring called Whiskey Tales. The first one was a cocktail hour at Sotheran’s (the oldest bookshop in Mayfair), followed by a presentation by adventure duo The Turner Twins, who spoke about their outrageous global explorations. Guests were served the company’s Tom’s Blend—an 18-year Last Drop family label.

To book: Seminars are free but not open to the public; inquire about an invite via thelastdrop@scottideas.com. The next one will be held in late June in London.

THE MANUAL

You’ll Have to Pay Big for 1 of the 271 Bottles of

1969 Glenrothes Scotch

Sazerac

Sazerac

Ultra-luxury Scotch whiskies are, as you know if you’re a consistent reader of The Manual, a fairly common occurrence (when you think about how many distilleries there used to be, how many still exist, and other factors). Not that each individual luxury whisky is common, though. The newest release from Last Drop Distillers, a Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch from 1969, is a testament to that, with a total release of only 271 bottles.

This is the second in a trilogy of Glenrothes releases from their spirits collection. The first release was the 1968 Single Malt Scotch Whisky. The current release includes bottling from two casks, laid down 50 years ago in the Speyside region of Scotland. Most of the barrels from the distillation were included in previous, younger bottles of Glenrothes, but Last Drop Distillers acquired these exclusive ex-bourbon barrels years later.

Bottled early this year, one of the casks filled 130, while the other poured 141. With just 271 bottles available, the Scotch will have the (steep) suggested retail price of $6,250.

“We are delighted with the second of our trilogy of old Glenrothes single malts,” a statement from Last Drop Distillers reads. “Only a very fortunate few will have the chance to sample these exceptional spirits, which are wonderful examples of fine distilling from the 1960s. Each sip transports you back to the heady days of flower power when revolution was in the air and on the radio. We commend to all those who truly appreciate the scent and taste of a magnificent old Scotch from a bygone era. You will not be disappointed.”

Esteemed whisky writer Charles Maclean provided tasting notes for the exclusive bottles. Despite similar aromas, Cask No. 16203 “appears less fruity, with snuffed candle at the base.” Cask No. 16207 “has a smooth texture, with sweet and sour taste and a long, warming finish.”

Cask No. 16207 also received some honors from Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2019, including Best Single Malt of the Year (Single Cask) and Best Single Malt 41 Years & Over.

Those who can shell out more than six grand for a bottle of whisky can check out where they’re being held on the Last Drop Distillers website.

It’s the 15th release for Last Drop Distillers in 11 years. Other releases include cognacs and bourbon, but the brand largely concentrates on Scotch whiskies. Last Drop was acquired by Sazerac Company in 2016, but remains on a quest to discover rare spirits to offer the public, so don’t expect the expensive, rare bottles to stop rolling out anytime soon.


FORBES

Apr 27, 2019

Score A Bottle Of 50-Year-Old Scotch

Jeanne O'Brien Coffey

Back in 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the Moon. The Beatles performed their last gig together. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 800. And two barrels of single malt Glenrothes Scotch were filled and rolled into a dark corner of a warehouse to rest for nearly 50 years. Until a company of sleuths who specialize in finding old and rare spirits uncovered the surprising treat. Last Drop Distillers, which finds and resells aged spirits, is offering what would be a pretty amazing gift for a Scotch lover turning 50.

The two casks yielded different flavor profiles -- pick up a bottle of each for a cool $12,500.

The two casks yielded different flavor profiles -- pick up a bottle of each for a cool $12,500.

Glenrothes is a Speyside distillery founded in 1878. In the 1960s, the company tended to blend its whiskys, as much of the 1968 vintage was (the distillery also continues to contribute some whisky to Famous Grouse, among others, while having focused more on vintages in recent years). These two ex-bourbon casks escaped blending for the next fifty years, maturing in the back of the Glenrothes warehouse, according to Last Drop. Now they’ve managed to get 309 750 ml bottles from the two, making them available to the more deep-pocketed enthusiasts for $6,250 a bottle through a limited number of sellers worldwide.

Uncovering casks full of still-drinkable spirits is rare, the company reports, noting that not all spirits age well, and too long in wood can ruin a fine spirit. But occasionally all the elements – original distillate, type of wood, the climate for storage – combine to produce an unlikely miracle.

1969 was a memorable year in Scotland: Church of Scotland ordained its first women,  and Glasgow went to the Euro Cup finals. Interestingly, while the two whisky casks were filled the same day in October 1969, they have slight different flavor profiles, according to those who have tasted them (I, alas, am not one of them).

Charming gift for the Scotch lover or anyone turning 50 this year.

Charming gift for the Scotch lover or anyone turning 50 this year.

Charles Maclean, a well-known whisky writer, says that both casks display similar aromatic profiles, but Cask no. 16203 appears drier and less fruity, with snuffed candle at the base, whereas sibling Cask no. 16207 has a smooth texture, with a sweet and sour taste and a long, warming finish. Overachieving Cask no. 16207 has also been awarded the Best Single Malt of the Year (Single Cask), and the Best Single Malt 41 Years & Over (Single Cask) by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2019.

If 1969 isn't your year, Last Drop has some 1970 they plan to release through 2020. The company's collection also includes rare cognac and bourbon.