Unlike wines, whiskies are less concerned with the issue of vintage. You can reasonably expect to have access to a bottle of Ardbeg 10 whether today or five years from now, since a steady supply is bottled every year. Besides, distillation and maturation are more important than the year the grain was harvested. For whiskies, the uncertainty lies in limited editions that were either distilled in limited quantities or inherently rare due to their age, since the most well-laid plans must still concede some influence to chance and serendipity. After all, one can never be sure what the future – or the barrel – holds, especially when that first dram is still decades away. So the next time you’re enjoying a limited-edition whisky, pause and reflect on just how precious it is.
Royal Salute – Time Series 52-Year-Old Single Cask Finish
The ultra-rare Time Series 52-Year-Old Single Cask Finish was blended by Royal Salute’s master blender Sandy Hyslop, who used some of the oldest and most valuable whiskies in the brand’s collection. The whisky spent its last 14 years of maturation in a single cask, which imparted a soft and creamy texture that complements its flavour profile. Expect rich, intense notes of fruits and nuts, with hints of spiciness from ginger and cloves all wrapped in a thick, syrupy sweetness. Just 106 bottles of this whisky are available at $30,000 each. Prices are almost guaranteed to be even higher on the secondary market though; like the whisky’s maturation itself, time is of the essence here.
The Auchentoshan 1987 30-Year-Old Single Cask
Bottled exclusively for 1855 The Bottle Shop, this single malt marks the first time Auchentoshan has created a whisky just for Singapore. The brand’s master blender Ron Welsh personally chose a refilled Oloroso Sherry Butt to appeal to the Asian palate, and it’s reflected clearly in the whisky’s flavour profile. It starts off with notes of fruits, honey, and molasses on the nose, before giving way to fruity and floral notes with hints of white pepper, ginger and sweet spices on the palate. The finish is sweet, with an even balance of vanilla and oaky spices. Like every other Auchentoshan whisky, the 1987 30-Year-Old Single Cask is triple-distilled, which makes it exceptionally smooth. Just 383 bottles are available worldwide.
Chivas Regal 13 Year Old Manchester United Special Edition
In his 26-year tenure as the manager of Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson won 13 Premier League titles. The Chivas Regal 13 Year Old Manchester United Special Edition pays tribute to this remarkable feat, with the added distinction of being the first 13-year- old Scotch ever offered by the distillery. Blended in Chivas’ distinctive house style, the whisky has been selectively finished in American rye casks, which imparts a sweetness that further accentuates the vanilla notes that are present. Touches of citrus, creamy milk chocolate, and cinnamon round things out to create a smooth and mellow flavour profile. Extremely limited numbers of this limited edition whisky will be available locally, so keep your eyes peeled.
The Balvenie A Day of Dark Barley
With A Day of Dark Barley, The Balvenie tells yet another tale of how it’s never business as usual at a distillery. This 26-year-old whisky is the latest chapter in The Balvenie Stories – a line of unique single malts with unusual geneses – and traces its origins to the delivery of a batch of dark roasted barley in 1992. Dark roasted barley, of course, is better suited for making stout. At The Balvenie’s distillery, it spurred an experiment to find out if a new whisky can be made not by changing its maturation conditions, but by tweaking the ingredients right at the beginning during distillation. The result? A deep, complex whisky permeated with classic notes of honey, vanilla, and citrus that are in turn balanced by hints of oak and smoke.
The Macallan Concept No.2
Concept No.2 is the second entry in The Macallan’s Concept series of whiskies, which are themed on art, music and culture. The man behind this single malt is Steven Bremner, The Macallan’s whisky maker and, interestingly, also an avid house music DJ. Bremmer likens the creation of a track to the crafting of a single malt: each is a creative process that involves layering and balancing different elements to create depth and, ultimately, a harmonious whole. Here, the sweetness of vanilla, citrus, and toffee is punctuated with spicy, woody notes from start to finish. It’s an energetic Scotch – if a whisky can ever be described this way – and not unlike a good house track.