Quick question: Do you like whisky, particularly the super-rare, super-luxe kind that costs £3,750 a bottle? If your answer is yes, then you'll want to get down to London barber Truefitt & Hill on 25 September, for the launch of The Last Drop Distillers' latest release, a 56-year-old blended Scotch whisky, of which there are only 732 bottles on the planet. For just £50, visitors will be treat to a Truefitt & Hill treatment of their choice, alongside a dram of the whisky, for the ultimate gentleman's pamper day. You'll need to act fast and prebook the experience now if you want in on the action and don't forget to use the password "Mr Epsey sent me" when you arrive to gain access to your special dram. £50. lastdropdistillers.com
The Last Drop Distillers’ latest limited edition release
The company on a mission to seek out rare casks of old and exceptional spirits unveils its 56 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky
AUGUST 31 2019 / ANTHONY ROSE
The year 1963 was momentous. Martin Luther King Jr delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, while the first woman cosmonaut, Valentina V Tereshkova, headed into space in Vostok 6. The UK was gripped by The Great Train Robbery, the Profumo scandal and Beatlemania as I Want to Hold Your Hand reached Number One on both sides of the Atlantic. Tragically, the year ended on a sombre note when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on November 22. And as all these events were unfolding, the youngest whisky in The Last Drop Distillers’ 56 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky was quietly put into hiding in oak casks – the final blend emerging for the very first time this year.
The 56 Year Old started life as a 12 Year Old blend that was duly selected and bottled after meticulous trials – the blender looking for light and shade, depth and variety. This was transferred to sherry casks to allow for continued maturation. Eventually, between the warehouse keeper and the blending team, it was decided to transfer the blend from sherry wood into ex-bourbon casks, where it lay in a warehouse in deepest Scotland, undisturbed, for decades. Undisturbed, that is, until it was bottled on May 15 this year.
The whisky comprises over 60 per cent single malts and marks The Last Drop’s 16th release within its portfolio of fine and rare whiskies, which will officially launch on Tuesday September 3. A 47.2 per cent cask strength blended malt and grain scotch, it is deep bronze gold in colour. The aromas combine a sweet depth of smoky, vanilla-like elements with a rich apricot fruitiness in a seductive fragrance that comes across with a cognac-like spice and sweetness. Behind a texture that’s as smooth as silk, the complexity of flavour erupts in an explosion of smoke, tar, vanilla and stone fruit that’s initially rich before turning delicately dry, all while retaining a remarkable freshness.
As with all Last Drop releases, each bottle will be presented with a 50ml miniature replica bonne bouche and pocket-sized tasting book with additional pages for personal tasting notes. Only 732 bottles will be released, priced £3,750. They can be ordered online.
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 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.
56-YEAR-OLD BLENDED WHISKY SET TO GO ON SALE
By Kenny Smith
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
“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.”
Best New Whiskies To Drink This Spring
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.
These Experimental Distilleries Are Using Science to Artificially Age Whiskies
From sound-waves to pulses, nothing is off limits.
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.
You’ll Have to Pay Big for 1 of the 271 Bottles of
1969 Glenrothes Scotch
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.