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September 22, 2014

Spirit to Sip: The Glenlivet’s New 50-Year-Old Scotch

By Emily Arden Wells | Spirits
Spirit to Sip: The Glenlivet’s New 50-Year-Old Scotch
Photo courtesy of Pernod Ricard

While the cooler months always bring an influx of whiskeys to the market, not every bottle of brown is created equal.

Next month, however, single-malt Scotch maker The Glenlivet will release Vintage 1964, the first expression of its brand-new Winchester Collection, a series of unique and rare 50 year-old Speyside whiskies named after master distiller Alan Winchester.

“This is the very first time that The Glenlivet has ever released a series of 50-year-old whiskies,” says Winchester. “[It’s] a very special moment for us and something that we have been waiting on for a long time.”According to Winchester, Captain Bill Smith-Grant—the brand’s master distiller in 1964—set aside this particular cask due to its quality and maturation potential. After 50 years sitting in a single American oak cask, this exquisite whisky offers the signature flavors of The Glenlivet, but with heightened saturation and clarity. 

On the nose, Vintage 1964 boasts big fruity aromas of tropical fruits, pear and green apple, and a touch of vanilla and cocoa from the barrel. On the palate, the oak becomes more pronounced, with flavors of toffee, peach, brûléed orange and a hint of black licorice on the finish. A drop of water opens this expression gorgeously, releasing an ultra-creamy mouthfeel and notes of pineapple, coconut and honey.

To match the provenance of the spirit itself, the bottle was designed by renowned Scottish glass artists Nichola Burns and Brodie Nairn of Glasstorm, and it’s topped with a stopper designed by silversmith Richard Fox, made of rose gold and a whisky-colored Cairngorm stone. Furniture maker John Galvin created the white-leather-lined, black-walnut presentation cabinet.

With only 100 bottles available worldwide at $25,000 each, the Vintage 1964 is the first of the collection to hit the market. Bottle no. 1 will be available for purchase at Harrods in London on October 1. (The second in the series will be the Vintage 1966, a vastly different spirit to be released in 2016.)

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