Glenlivet - The Winchester Collection, Vintage 1964
Matured in a single American oak hogshead, this whisky was laid down back in 1964 by none other than Captain Bill Smith-Grant, the final distilling descendant of the distillery's founder, George Smith. The Winchester Collection therefore represents a special piece of history for The Glenlivet, a final liquid link with the family that started it all back in 1824. The 1964 vintage will be a release of just 100 bottles - bottled June 17th 2014 at a cask strength of 42.3% abv - to be shared across various markets including the UK, the US, Taiwan and China. Each bottle is presented in a hand-blown decanter incorporating rose gold and Cairngorm stone (a type of dark quartz or somesuch - sometimes known as 'the whisky stone') with the handcrafted cabinet to finish a product that's both precious and exhibits top British craftsmanship inside and out, if you will.
Nose: Subtle spices come through first, a dusting of nutmeg, then you're straight into fresh fruits with grapefruit, guava, papaya, and Orangina. Glorious, vibrant, lively, fruity - very Glenlivet - a pleasant surprise. Encouraged to add a little water, I discovered more orange notes, syrupy but still vibrant peach and a hint of smoke. Palate: Touches of pineapple, ripe pear and into fresh oak-y, birch-y notes, still light, subtle and integrated. What develops to create the body here can only be described as what would happen if Heston got it in his head that he wanted to make a Michelin star Toffee Crisp bar. That. Or something like that. Water reveals fresh tangerine peel. Finish: Long with some more caramel, a touch more tropical fruit and fresh orchard fruits torn open. It's all effortless. Overall: 50 years young this one, bursting with life and vitality, as well as the added complexity and character that five decades have brought.