Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Reaching 50 Years - The Glenlivet & The Winchester Collection

The Winchester collection. Official image from The Glenlivet website.
The Glenlivet release The Winchester Collection, claiming the title of the first collection of 50yo whiskies. Collection would assume many to come considering they have only released one expression so far, Vintage 1964, of 100 bottles. At that limited release that is going to fetch a pretty penny in anyones books. The official line from The Glenlivet website is as follows:
The inaugural release, Vintage 1964, was created from an American Hogshead oak cask laid down to mature by Captain Bill Smith-Grant, the last distilling descendant of The Glenlivet’s founder, George Smith, on the 24th of April 1964. It was soon after singled out as a cask of exceptional promise and has been tended to under the watchful eye of no fewer than seven Master Distillers and is the result of their unrivalled knowledge, unwavering care and unfaltering craft.
Very little else is currently available on what is to come but I am sure we will be hearing more about it soon enough. Don't expect a sample anytime soon as 100 bottles is not going to go very far at all. The Glenlivet do make great whiskies and occasionally some failures but just the shear fact they have reached a 50yo is something special indeed.

50yo whiskies are still in there infancy as no one really planned (when you talk with distillers) on ageing whisky that long back in the early 60's. A few years ago when I was talking with David Stuart and Sam Simons from The Balvenie at the Celebrating David Stuart's 50 Years event, and then again  last year with Sam was out in Aus, it was clear that getting a whisky to 50 years was a near impossible task. Prime factors of over oaking, wood rot, and evaporation all work against ageing whisky that long. Looking to now and back to the 80's wood selection has become increasingly important in order to aim at ageing whiskies longer while amplifying flavours. My personal view is that in the next 15 years to 20 years a 50yo whisky will be much more common and at much more respectable prices while 70yo whiskies start to make more regular appearances.

To quote a comment by Sam Simons "In time it becomes increasing harder to drink a whisky that is older than you are". That being the case I have 10 years in order to try this as I am not seeing many 40yo whiskies coming my way.

The Baron

This is a non-sponsord announcement. For any further details please defer to The Glenlivet website.