The Drinks Business Online (UK)

THE LAST DROP RELEASES 56-YEAR-OLD BLENDED WHISKY AT £3,750

14th August, 2019 by Edith Hancock

The Last Drop distillers has unveiled a 56-year-old blended whisky, the oldest Scotch blend the importer has bottled to-date.

The blended Scotch is priced at £3,750 (Photo: The Last Drop)

The blended Scotch is priced at £3,750 (Photo: The Last Drop)

Launching in September, the new release, which is made of 60% single malts, marks the 16th within The Last Drop’s portfolio.

The youngest whisky in the blend was distilled in 1963, according to the importer.

According to The Last Drop, the inspiration for the whisky came from a master distiller who, many decades ago, began working on a 12-year-old blended Scotch, but kept some of the end product back and transferred to sherry casks to allow for continued maturation.

Years later, this was in-turn transferred from the sherry wood into four ex- bourbon barrels, which have been stored in a warehouse in Scotland for more than 30 years.

There are just 732 bottles of the whisky available to purchase, worldwide, priced at £3,750. Each bottle also comes with a 50ml miniature replica, and a pocket sized tasting book with additional pages for personal tasting notes.

Rebecca Jago, Joint Managing Director of The Last Drop said: “This venerable old whisky – the oldest blended Scotch we have released to date – has been resting for 56 years deep in the heart of Scotland.

“When we discovered it, we knew we had found a real gem: comprising over 60% single malts, this would have been classed as a “deluxe blend” and we feel it represents the luxury and quality which is at the heart of everything we believe in at The Last Drop: it’s old and rare, but still fresh and absolutely delicious!”


The Spirits Business Online (UK)

Last Drop Distillers to release 56-year-old whisky

13th August, 2019 by Nicola Carruthers

Rare spirits bottler The Last Drop Distillers has unveiled a 56-year-old whisky, the company’s oldest blended Scotch to date.

The Last Drop Distillers 56 Year Old Blended Scotch comes with a 50ml miniature

The Last Drop Distillers 56 Year Old Blended Scotch comes with a 50ml miniature

The Last Drop Distillers 56 Year Old Blended Scotch comprises of more than 60% single malt and will be the 16th release in the company’s portfolio. The blend also contains whisky distilled in 1964.

Some time ago a master blender began creating a 12-year-old blended Scotch whisky. Liquid from this final blend was transferred to Sherry casks for continued maturation and after a number of years was transferred into four ex- Bourbon barrels.

These barrels were left to mature in a warehouse in Scotland for more than 30 years.

Rebecca Jago, joint managing director of The Last Drop Distillers, said: “This venerable old whisky – the oldest blended Scotch we have released to date – has been resting for 56 years deep in the heart of Scotland.”

“When we discovered it, we knew we had found a real gem: comprising over 60% single malts, this would have been classed as a ‘deluxe blend’ and we feel it represents the luxury and quality which is at the heart of everything we believe in at The Last Drop: it’s old and rare, but still fresh and absolutely delicious.”

The Last Drop Distillers 56 Year Old Blended Scotch has notes of “Islay smoke, sweetness from Speyside, and a roundness and depth that is redolent of the Highlands”.

Available from September, the 56-year-old whisky is priced at £3,750 (US$4,350). The expression comes with a 50ml miniature and a tasting book.

Scottish Field Online (UK)

56-YEAR-OLD BLENDED WHISKY SET TO GO ON SALE

By Kenny Smith

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The Last Drop Distillers have announced the launch of their oldest blended Scotch whisky they have bottled to date.

The 56 Year Old blended Scotch whisky comprises over 60% single malts and is a truly remarkable example of balance, wearing its age with grace and dignity.

Launching in September, this marks The Last Drop’s 16th release within their esteemed portfolio. Their mission is to seek out and hunt down parcels of exceptional spirits that have been lost or forgotten.

Many years ago, deep in the heart of Scotland, a Master Blender began creating a 12 year old blended Scotch whisky. Reminiscent of an artist with his palette of colours, the blender was looking for light and shade, depth and variety. After meticulous trials and tasting, the final blend was chosen and bottled.

However, some liquid remained. This was transferred to sherry casks to allow for continued maturation before, a number of years later, the precious spirit was transferred from the sherry wood into four ex-bourbon barrels thus preventing the influence of the sherry from overwhelming the natural balance of the spirit. These barrels lay hidden and undisturbed in a warehouse for over 30 years.

The youngest whisky in this blend was distilled in 1963, a year in which the world was on the verge of great change. When The Last Drop chanced upon the four barrels, they discovered a magnificent, ultra-aged blended Scotch whisky.

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Rebecca Jago, joint managing director of The Last Drop, said: ‘This venerable old whisky – the oldest blended Scotch we have released to date – has been resting for 56 years deep in the heart of Scotland. When we discovered it, we knew we had found a real gem: comprising over 60 per cent single malts, this would have been classed as a “deluxe blend” and we feel it represents the luxury and quality which is at the heart of everything we believe in at The Last Drop: it’s old and rare, but still fresh and absolutely delicious!’

James Espey and Tom Jago, the founders of The Last Drop, often said that a single malt is like a virtuoso instrument but a great blend is like an orchestra playing a symphony with a master conductor at the helm. The artistry of this particular blend has created a complex, layered whisky which is full of depth and beauty. The colour comes from many years in sherry casks, but years in bourbon wood have brought additional layers of vanilla and molasses. There are notes of Islay smoke, sweetness from Speyside, and a roundness and depth that is redolent of the Highlands.

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

The release has an RRP of £3,750 and stockists can be found at www.lastdropdistillers.com/stockists.

The Last Drop Distillers specialise in discovering and hand bottling the finest, rarest and most exclusive spirits from remote cellars and warehouses across Scotland and the rest of the world. The team’s quest is rigorous and painstaking, choosing only liquids that are old and rare, but fresh and delicious; a juxtaposition that makes The Last Drop portfolio truly unique. In 2016 The Last Drop was acquired by the Sazerac Company, one of America’s oldest family owned, privately held distillers.

The Walpole

A Summer of Luxury | Holiday with… Beanie Espey & Rebecca Jago, Joint MDs of The Last Drop Distillers


Kicking off the first day of our 2019 Summer of Luxury Campaign – a celebration of the year’s most carefree of months – we spoke to the inspiring ‘rare spirit hunters’ Rebecca Jago and Beanie Espey, joint Managing Directors of the Last Drop Distillers, on their holiday plans and how taking some downtime inspires all those ‘eureka’ moments.

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WHERE ARE YOU HOLIDAYING THIS YEAR?

Rebecca: I have had a wonderful start to my summer, with a week in the beautiful Peloponnese in Greece in May, followed by a last-minute trip to the west coast of Mexico in June to meet up with my daughter, who is currently living in Peru. We are now spending ten days with friends at our house in the south west of France. We drove down, stopping en route in Cognac to catch up with some contacts there, as you never know when a special cask of something old and delicious may turn up. France is very rural, and very relaxing: the real luxury is having the opportunity to catch up with friends, and catch up on my reading!

Beanie: This year my husband and I will be summer holidaying for the first time with our one year old son, Felix. We were looking for a place that was both a proper getaway and good with small children, and alighted on the Il de Re, just off the French coast near La Rochelle. I’m picturing picnics on windswept beaches, cycling from village to village and delicious food and wine. We are also making an important detour to Cognac and Bordeaux… in fact Felix will celebrate his first birthday in style in St Emilion!

WHAT IS YOUR ‘MUST-HAVE’ ITEM TO PACK IN YOUR SUITCASE?

Rebecca: My kindle (see above) and factor 50!

Beanie: Much like Rebecca, I relish reading when on holiday – but I’m currently having a renewed love-affair with printed books. The kindle is so practical, but given Felix won’t permit me an abundance of free time, I think a few paperbacks will suffice. On a more practical note, I have discovered Heliocare tinted suntan cream; it gives great protection and a lovely bronzed glow at the same time!

WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE AL FRESCO DRINKING/DINING SPOT?

Rebecca: Outside the house in France with the umbrella up. We were given an amazing rotating, cantilevered umbrella big enough to keep ten of us in the shade, and I love it!

Beanie: There is a little square in Florence, just behind the Palazzo Pitti, that I used to frequent all the time when I lived there to sip on a Negroni. Otherwise somewhere on the Calle Consistorio in Jerez; cold fino and fat green olives. Yum.

WHAT IS YOUR HOLIDAY READ THIS YEAR?

Rebecca: I have just finished the outstanding and absorbing Putney by Sofka Zinovieff. It’s a particularly interesting read for me as I live (and grew up) in Putney. I’m about to start on Three Women by Lisa Taddeo, which seems to be the non-fiction book of the moment.

Beanie: Some years ago one of my best friends, who is also the daughter of two classics teachers, gave me a copy of “Song of Achilles”, by Madeline Miller, which I devoured. I’ve been waiting patiently for another book by the same author, and it finally arrived in the form of Circe. I can’t wait to start it.

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A ‘LIGHTBULB’ MOMENT RELATED TO YOUR BUSINESS OR CAREER WHILE TAKING SOME DOWNTIME?

Rebecca: Yes. Last year was a difficult time for me, with the death of both my parents. I was lucky enough to take six weeks off at the end of the year and travel with my husband around the world. The time away from the day-to-day running of the business gave me a very different perspective on some of the minutiae which can take up much too much of my time. I think I came back to The Last Drop with renewed energy and a better overview of what we want to achieve. My personal 2019 resolution was to delegate more, and to focus on building the brand. I’m not sure the team would agree that I’m succeeding with the delegation, but I’m definitely trying!

Beanie: Funnily enough, Rebecca and I have lots of eureka moments while travelling. We always try and use the time on flights and in departure lounges to chat, rather than get engrossed in our emails, and in fact the idea for both Tom’s Blend and our 2018 Piccadilly Atelier came while travelling in the USA!

Wallpaper Online (UK)

LIFESTYLE | BY LUKE HALLS

The Last Drop Distillers unearths a duo of 50 year-old Scotch whiskies

High spirits brand The Last Drop Distillers has discovered and bottled a duo of 1969 single malt Scotch whiskies from Glenrothes, Scotland, which were left to mature in two different casks for almost 50 years

One of the 141 bottles of 1969 Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Whisky from Cask No 16207, sourced by The Last Drop Distillers

One of the 141 bottles of 1969 Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Whisky from Cask No 16207, sourced by The Last Drop Distillers

In the world of fine spirits, the age of and story behind a release can be as tantalising as its flavour profile. For high spirits brand The Last Drop Distillers, story is the cornerstone of its day-to-day business and underlines its entire collection, which has seen the recent addition of a twin of single malt Scotch whiskies.

The brand was formed by James Epsey, Tom Jago and Peter Fleck, veterans of the spirits industry who, between them, have been driving forces behind some of the world’s most famed spirits. The trio forewent the prospect of early retirement in 2008 and instead embarked on their most ambitious venture to date: to source, bottle and distribute the world’s rarest spirits, from casks that first left their home distilleries decades ago.

For the 15th release in its collection, The Last Drop Distillers goes back to the autumn of 1969, to the town of Glenrothes in the Scottish Highlands. The town’s distillery had expanded to new premises almost 100 years prior, and its founder James Stuart had set up shop with clear guidelines: to always have access to a nearby source of water, aiding spirit purity; a slower distillation period, shaping the malt to a mellower yield; to use the best sherry-seasoned casks available, providing a wide spectrum of flavours, and to always bottle whisky at its natural colour.

Adhering to these same standards, the Glenrothes distillery filled its casks in 1969 with its then-current batch of single malt Scotch. A pair of these casks would seemingly disappear for the better part of 50 years, winding up into the hands of The Last Drop Distillers decades later. The brand has bottled the sibling whiskies into 271 bottles for release in 2019, marking an extremely limited edition, half a century in the making.

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Marked with numbers 16203 and 16207, the two ex-Bourbon casks have taken the twin whiskies in very different directions. 16203 has given the malt a pale amber tone with a fairly dry nose, giving way to a sweet, smooth, creamy taste panning towards a spicy finish. 16207 on the other hand, (which was awarded Best Single Malt of the Year 2019), offers an incredibly fresh nose with a subtle hint of oak, teasing sweet and sour flavours of honey, fudge, apricots and orange.

Each bottle is presented in a vibrant red leather case, accompanied by a 50ml miniature bottle, a custom-made stopper, tasting book and signed certificate of bottling. Only 130 bottles and accompanying miniatures are available for Cask No 16203, leaving 141 for 16207. For those unable to get their hands on this particular edition, The Last Drop Distillers will revisit Glenrothes for the final time in 2020 with the release of another soon-to-be 50 year-old single malt, dating back to 1970.

Playboy Magazine

Without Tom Jago, the world would never have known Bailey’s Irish Cream, Malibu Rum or Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Where most people would choose to slow down later in life after achieving such a high level of success, Jago, a spirits entrepreneur who passed away in October 2018, and his colleagues, James Espey and Peter Fleck, embarked on a new project in the twilight of their careers. Their focus wasn’t on creating a product for the masses; rather, they decided to chase some of the rarest, most elite of libations.

All three were highly regarded in the world of liquor. Jago is largely credited with being the creative force behind the aforementioned bar staples, whereas Espey and Fleck held high-level executive positions in various spirits corporations. The Last Drop Distillers, their latest—and last—company together, is the antithesis of nearly everything they knew.

The business only truly began as a favor to Espey’s friend, a hotelier who owned a line of boutique hotels called the Last Word. About 12 years ago, in looking to source a house whisky for their all-inclusive bars, he reached out to Espey and Fleck for help. Since both had such deep roots in the spirits industry, they knew very rare, excellent casks lived in many of Scotland’s distilleries, and were game to go on a hunt. And the search won't end with them—now their daughters are in the game...and winning at it too. 

However great the story, however seemingly brilliant the distillery, however rare the liquid, if it's not a genuine pleasure to drink then we're not going to buy it.

Even as Last Drop Distiller's current Head of Brand Strategy, Beanie Geraedts-Espey keeps her father's passion for sipping in mind.“They knew these casks existed, but obviously having retired, didn't have direct access to any of them,” recalls Geraedts-Espey. “So they essentially went up to Scotland, did a sort of round-the-highlands tour asking people if they had anything that might fit the bill.”According to Managing Director Rebecca Jago, the duo calculated that they tasted well over a hundred whiskies before they discovered what would become the first Last Drop Distillers release, a 1960 blended Scotch whisky.

“My father said that was the best whisky he's ever tasted and until the day he died, he stood by that,” recounts Rebecca. Their first discovery caught the attention of the industry; with people asking if they could do it again, the two men next turned to cognac.“Although cognac’s a very, very highly regulated industry now, it hasn't been as regulated for as long as scotch,” she explains. “Back in the 19th century and early 20th century, people were not nearly so punctilious about keeping back records, especially the smaller distillers. A Hennessy or a Martell house would have every barrel recorded, but the small growers who were distilling and then supplying to the big houses would certainly have kept less detailed records.”

Again, they explored the region, asking contacts for recommendations and digging into corners of producers’ small barns. Again, they uncovered a liquid gem. “[The cognac] came from a very small family estate where the current owners' grandfather had distilled it and kept it as a legacy of what he had created,” says Rebecca.

Like the first whisky, cognac also sold out. “People said, ‘well, what's next?’ and it evolved in a kind of haphazard but rather charming way,” says Geraedts-Espey. The Last Drop Distillers was officially established in 2008 and in 2014, Rebecca and Geraedts-Espey took on their current roles.The initial bottlings set the benchmark. “[The first releases] said we're looking for spirits that can be old and rare and delicious,” says Rebecca. However, given the nature of rare spirits—primarily, there is very little available—Jago and Espey knew they would have to diversify options and look beyond those two spirits to build a portfolio. With the rigorous qualifications set by the team, “it’s never going to be a gin and it's never going to be a vodka,” says Rebecca, who adds that these spirits are best consumed young.

Provenance is also important. “With scotch it's not an issue because the Scotch whisky industry is so highly regulated that the only time scotch could be fake is when it's put into glass… and we only buy barrels,” Rebecca explains. But gut intuition is always required. “On another trip to France, I was introduced to a big company who said we have some amazing armagnacs for sale,” she says. “I went to meet them and I was presented with these armagnacs, apparently from 1888. Now, you probably know that for the Chinese, eight is the luckiest number. So 1888 is an extraordinarily convenient number to have to suddenly say, oh, I've got 2,000 liters of 1888 armagnac for sale. I tasted them and I didn't believe they were all from 1888. You have to be pretty cynical about things.”

For all the traipsing around the countryside and burrowing through old cellars, the actual selection process is remarkably less glamorous.

Back in the “boring” London office—as Geraedts-Espey and Rebecca describe it—the spirit in question must pass muster with the entire Last Drop Distillers team. A former release is used as a control sample and yardstick for quality. Over 95 percent of what they taste is rejected. Again, gut intuition and pure hedonism come into making a selection, and Geraedts-Espey struggles to articulate exactly what they look for in a spirit. “We really pride ourselves on our integrity and the fact that we only release stuff that we think is truly delicious,” says Geraedts-Espey. “However great the story, however seemingly brilliant the distillery, however rare the liquid, if it's not a genuine pleasure to drink then we're not going to buy it.”

We're not pretending there's less than there really is. If we put it into a bottle, we put everything into that bottle.

It’s hard to not get swept up in a story and let emotions take over. On Rebecca’s last trip with her father before his death, they visited a property in Cognac where generations of owners had produced cognac and housed a veritable treasure trove of stock. When they reached the barn, “there's a big padlock on the door and there is what you think is sort of cognac heaven,” she recalls. “There are old casks from 1906, 1912, and 1917 sitting there, and I honestly, thought, this is it. We found our next release.” She and her father tasted their way through the offerings, growing more and more excited with each sip.

They begged the farmer to let them bring samples back to the rest of the team, who in turn grew overwhelmed by their enthusiasm. Once back in the boardroom, however, “everybody’s faces just sort of fell as they tasted,” recounts Rebecca. “[They essentially said], these may be old, the story is fantastic, but the spirit is not. We had to go back [to the owner] rather brokenhearted and say I'm sorry, we can't take this as a Last Drop release because it's just not good enough.”

Though their newest release provided redemption. On a later trip to Cognac, Rebecca was introduced to a man whose family had owned a farm since the 17th century. When word began to spread of the Nazis’ path towards the region in 1940, the man’s grandfather, an avid distiller, rapidly hid two barrels of his prized 1925 grande champagne cognac behind a wall. The casks were forgotten about for 80 years, until they were unearthed in a renovation. “We were all just completely blown away by how fantastic it was," says Rebecca. Sadly, there is less available than anticipated; some of the inventory was siphoned off from the barrels en route to the bottling facility in Scotland.

Geraedts-Espey and Rebecca know it’s a precarious business model; convincing producers to sell their spirits took a bit of work in the beginning. The forgotten barrels were often victims of consolidation— something rediscovered in the acquisition but didn’t quite fit into a new company’s business strategy—and it wasn’t easy at first to get producers to understand how these lots could be turned into something special under the Last Drop label. However, as The Last Drop Distillers started proving the value of these “castoffs,” producers started to embrace their rarities and bottle them themselves, creating a scarcity of quality options.

Last Drop Distillers doesn’t have a cheaper baseline product to serve as a revenue driver, and as new brands try to enter the super-premium market, they’re faced with mounting competition. “Although we are in a slightly more crowded market than we were, we have to stand out because of our principles,” Rebecca says.

Both women still firmly believe in the mission that sent their fathers digging through cellars in the first place. “The name of the company says it all,” says Rebecca. “The Last Drop means an awful lot because we're not creating scarcity. We're not pretending there's less than there really is. If we put it into a bottle, we put everything into that bottle.”

Ocean Magazine Online (Australia)

Nice drop: Whisky

We sample 1971 Last Drop Blended Scotch Whisky.

The Last Drop Distillers is a bit different to your usual spirits producer. It has only released 13 offerings in the decade of its existence, all extremely limited and tremendously expensive. The company searches the world for great spirits, sources and bottles them.

Their first release was in 2009, a 1960 Blended Scotch Whisky. Originally blended from more than 80 different components, it was intended to be released as a 12-Year-Old, and most of it was. Three casks slipped through the net however, until the Last Drop team got hold of them. They provided enough whisky for 1,347 bottles.

The recently released 1971 Last Drop Blended Scotch Whisky (1,352 bottles) sits between AU$4,000 and AU$8,000. Originally blended in 1983, the intention was to release it to the American market as a 12-Year-Old, and most was. Eleven butts (ex-Oloroso Sherry) was then aged undisturbed for a further nine years, and a small amount was then bottled as a 21-Year-Old blend. The remainder has been bottled as this whisky.

This is an extraordinary spirit, with dried fruits, figs, stonefruits, florals, a richness and great complexity. Incredible length. It has notes that are reminiscent of a great Rutherglen fortified. A truly amazing spirit.

DRINKS INTERNATIONAL

Last Drop Distillers launches 15th limited release

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21 June, 2019

By Shay Waterworth

The Last Drop Distillers has launched its newest release, the 1969 Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

The second in an exclusive trilogy, following the 1968 Single Malt Scotch Whisky, this Single Malt scotch will mark The Last Drop’s 15th release in 11 years and comprises two single cask bottlings.

On the 27 October 1969 the master distiller at Glenrothes Distillery filled two ex-bourbon casks with new make and let them sit for 50 years. 

The Last Drop Distillers then bottled the whisky in 2019 with the first cask yielding 130 bottles, and the second cask 141 bottles, making a total of just 271 bottles available worldwide. 

Prominent whisky writer Charles Maclean shared 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.

“Only a very fortunate few will have the chance to sample these exceptional spirits, which are wonderful examples of fine distilling from the 1960s. 

“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 has an RRP of £5,400 inc VAT and UK stockists can be found at lastdropdistillers.com.

The Last Drop Distillers specialises in discovering and hand bottling some of the rarest and most exclusive spirits from remote cellars and warehouses across Scotland and the rest of the world. The team targets only liquids that are old and rare, but with young character.