The rich may (or may not) be very different from you and me, as F. Scott Fitzgerald once claimed, but they definitely drink better whiskey. If you doubt this, befriend a hedge fund manager and prevail upon him to open a bottle from The Last Drop. The Last Drop bills itself as “The World’s Most Exclusive Spirits Company,” so your new buddy will undoubtedly be familiar with it.
The company was founded in 2008 by three legends of the trade: James Espey, Tom Jago and Peter Fleck. Collectively, the trio has been responsible for the development of brands such as Johnny Walker Blue Label, Chivas Regal, The Classic Malts, and J & B Rare. In its brief history, The Last Drop has come up with a 1960 Blended Scotch, along with a 50 Year-Old blend and a 1950 Cognac.
For their newest expression, they have released 592 bottles of a 48 Year-Old Blended Scotch Whisky. While these might seem pricey at $4,000 apiece, there are nearly two dozen bottles of Scotch that are more expensive (a bottle of The Balvenie 50 Year-Old will set you back around $35K). The youngest whisky in the blend was distilled in 1965. In 1987, a small amount was transferred into American oak casks that had been used to mature Bourbon, and aged in a warehouse in the Scottish Highlands. It was bottled unfiltered, directly from the cask, at its natural alcoholic level of 48.6%. Each bottle is presented in a handmade, suede-lined leather case.
So what does a $4,000 bottle of Scotch taste like? Very close to perfection, as you might expect. First there is the nose: high-toned and brilliant, exuding aromas of mocha, honey, toasty oak and baking spices. It is smooth and unctuous on entry, with a forceful mid palate dominated by flavors of fresh herbs, melting chocolate and menthol. The finish is close to endless, with repeating notes of herbs, white pepper and roasted hazelnuts. Despite the high alcohol level and the decades spent in cask, this is a spirit that is virtually effortless to drink.
Mark Spivak is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation (Lyons Press, 2014); for more information, go to amazon.com