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.
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).
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.