Time for a Whisky

It's all very well living for the moment, but what of our future selves? I'm not sure they deserve the same rights to enjoyment as us — dum vivimus vivamus — but perhaps we shouldn't disregard their needs entirely. Whisky distillers certainly don't. They tuck away and mature whiskies for release dates that only our future selves could ever hope to reach.

For generations hence
It is the job of the Master Blender at a good distillery to know which whisky casks are suitable for ageing, sometimes for periods that will outlast them. A surprising number of distillers possess the foresight to store whiskies for generations hence, with working examples made from casks that were filled as far back as the 1940s. Good things certainly come to the chap who waits. But the waiting has been done for us, so we can enjoy 50-year-old whiskies in the here and now.
Middle-aged whisky
Generally available in small batches, these mellow, middle-aged whiskies are dispersed around the world to find their way to the connoisseurs (and the super-villainous) waiting to add to their collections and the fine drinking establishments eager to expand their offerings to knowledgeable customers. After they've been snapped up, the only time you might get your hands on such whiskies is at auction.
Good things come in good packages
The Whisky Shop triage the very best in rarefied whisky drinking. You will find that most of the rarities they stock disappear from the shelves quickly, but it's nice to just read about them in The Whisky Shop's magazine, Whiskeria, and the hand-blown bottles and handcrafted presentation cases specially made to contain them. In fact, I'm equally interested to learn how the whiskies are presented. Good things come in good packages. The cases and bottles are normally produced by the kind of craftsmen we like to support.

Let's salivate together
Come, let's salivate together over some of the 50-year-old belters that passed temporarily into the hands of The Whisky Shop and imagine supping them with great ceremony on our oxblood leather wing-back Chesterfield armchair. Or the purpose-built Dram Chair.

Loch Lomond 50 Year Old
Loch Lomond 50 Year Old (top picture) was distilled and stored in 1967, which wasn't very long after Loch Lomond Whiskies established their distillery in Alexandria, Scotland.  How forward-thinking. By way of context, 1967 was the year the UK began its negotiations for membership of the EEC, Concorde was unveiled and Elvis married Priscilla. All is ephemeral.

Loch Lomond Whiskies produced only 60 hand-blown decanters of this middle-aged single malt whisky. The decanters were dispersed to the best whisky hubs around the world in 2017, including The Whisky Shop. Loch Lomond Master Blender, Michael Henry, believes the wait was worth it: 'The Loch Lomond 50 Year Old has been granted the time to truly concentrate that character, resulting in a rich, tropical fruit flavour.' 

The presentation cases for Loch Lomond 50 Year Old were made from solid oak by our friends at Method Studio. The oak was sculpted to look like ripples in water, dyed with indigo and waxed. The interior was lined with debossed leather and the fittings made from brass.

A simply marvellous touch was the inclusion of a 'secret' taster sample in a solid turned-brass phial.

The Balvenie 50 Year Old
For The Balvenie 50-year-old whisky, two casks were filled in May 1963: cask 4567 and 4570. Here we see one of 131 bottles produced from cask 4567. The single-cask Speyside whisky from The Balvenie distillery is described as an unusual taste 'characterised by dark fruits and spice'.

The wooden cases were made by master craftsman Sam Chinnery from 49 layers of wood with a brass enclosure.

Glenfiddich 50 Year Old
The Glenfiddich 50 Year Old is drawn from two casks (1955 and 1957), producing 50 bottles a year since 2009 and 500 bottles in total. Glenfiddich say the whisky offers an initial sweetness in taste 'cascading through layer after layer of aromatic herb, floral and soft fruits, silky oak tannin and gentle smoke'. Yum yum.

Again, we must look at the packaging. The bottle is hand-blown by Glasstorm glass studio. The plaque on the front of the bottle is made from Scottish silver by Thomas Fattorini, a two-hundred-year old family run silversmiths and British military sword maker.

The bottle is numbered with a wax cartouche.

The case is lined in silk and made from hand-stitched leather.

If we wish to sample such magnificent creations, then it will have to be before we're laid in that final silk-lined oak presentation case of our own. We do not remember the days, we remember the moments. Sometimes we need to take a look in the bathroom mirror and say to ourselves, 'What have I got to lose?' (Yes, I'm encouraging you to spend all your money on good whisky.)


Popular Posts