Until scientists get off their lazy asses and retro fit some DeLoreans, vintage spirits are one of the few ways we’re able to time travel. And if you’re willing to drop the dough, you can get back as far as 1971 this fall.
The Last Drop Distillers has released a new blended scotch distilled in 1971. At that time Nixon was president. It’s the same year Led Zeppelin released Led Zeppelin IV, the same year that Jim Morrison passed away, and the same year Disney World opened.
It’s an old scotch. But age alone isn’t enough to make a scotch great. Whisky can age too much, it can age too slowly. To properly curate releases like this, you need a good team of experts forging the path.
Last Drop has always had that. Industry legends founded the company in 2008 and their daughters have co-managed them into exciting new projects that have included half a dozen extreme-aged whisky and cognac releases. This isn’t the first of their releases we’ve written about. Previous bottlings have included a ones at 48 years of age, and even a half-century-old whisky that time forgot. Both were incredible.
The pedigree of the 1,352 bottles being released of this 45-year-old reads like a CEO’s resume: just a lot of hard years put in to earn its place at the top. It was blended in 1983 as a premium 12-year-old (we don’t get to know the distillery), and the remainder was aged another nine years in ex-Oloroso sherry butts. Then the remainder of another pour off for 21-year-old bottling was refilled one more into ex-bourbon barrels until it was discovered.
Enough about the backstory: here’s what we thought tasting it. We got apple, vanilla, and honey on a very modest nose, but once we tasted this whisky, wow. Tons of toffee and caramel sweetness on the palate, chocolate oranges, and hints of salt and smoke. Don’t have to take our word for it: Jim Murray called it the 2017 Scotch Blend of the Year.
The problem with whisky like this is you can spend hours trying to figure out what distillery it came from and never make any progress. Often times these whiskies are sold because the small volume of casks (just nine, in this case) is not financially worthwhile for a larger producer to bottle, market, distribute and sell.
Buyers like Last Drop get these wonderful whiskies from much larger producers on the condition that they (most of the time) aren’t allowed to say where it was made. Usually the reason for that is that, should something go wrong, the brand that produced the whisky doesn’t want its image tarnished. We can safely say that whoever made this whisky should be proud of it, but the Last Drop folks definitely get credit for finding it and bringing it to market.
If you’re determined to get your hands on this one, first of all congratulations on being rich. Second of all, you’ll still have a rough go of it: only 300 of the total bottles were sent to the U.S., and while we’re sure there isn’t a ton of competition for $4,000 bottles among the masses, the small supply won’t languish on shelves.
If you’re considering this as an investment, you should know: every Last Drop release comes with a 50 ml tasting sample, so that those who don’t intend to open the bottle (immediately or ever) can still find out what they’ve gotten their hands on.