Friday 30 October 2020

Tasting The Last Drop Distillers 56 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky [Tasted #494]

The Last Drop is not a bottler who could be accused of rushing bottles to market. Since their inception, they've only released 18 spirits (and two Ports...including this one at a spritely 148 years old), all of them seriously old. I've been lucky enough to taste a few of their previous releases, including a 50yo Blend and 70yo Cognac, and they've all been fantastic.

That theme continued recently, when a sample of their latest Blended Scotch Whisky, a 56 Year Old (release XVI) landed on the doorstep at TimeforWhisky HQ - along with 7(!) samples of 1960s Glenrothes casks, to be covered in a future post.

Only four barrels make up the blend, containing over 60% malt content. After nearly 20 years in sherry butts, the casks saw a long "finish" in ex-Bourbon casks. Talk about doing things in reverse - a Bourbon "finish" which goes for longer than the initial maturation?!

It works, though. 

732 bottles were released (along with the customary 50mL sample bottles that accompany most Last Drop releases), at £3,750.

The Last Drop 56 Year Old Blended Scotch (47.2% ABV, 56yo, Scotch Blend, £3,750
Colour: Golden amber.

Nose: An initial fruity, floral bouquet (oranges, pears, raspberry, followed by pot pourri) gives way to hints of paprika, pineapple, and ultimately rich, deep cigar / cedar notes from an old cigar box. Fantastic.

Palate: Big and zesty, flamed orange peel first, then a slight meatiness followed by a vanilla sweetness. There's oak throughout, but it's muted. Honey-drizzled oat cakes round things out nicely.

Finish: Oak tannins start to emerge (but again, well-balanced) along with orange blossom water and a slightly spiced vanilla note at the end.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 93/100. Not quite reaching the dizzying heights of the brand's 50 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky (tasted here, rated 95) which, still to this day, is the best blended Scotch I've tried, but excellent nonetheless. We're talking about blends that count few others as peers, here. Top stuff indeed.

That makes 3 blends we've tried from The Last Drop now - all of them absolutely stunning. With Colin Scott recently joining the company as Master Blender, we can't wait to see what the future holds...

...but actually, we know what the immediate future holds, as The Last Drop have just announced threw new limited editions:

  • Release no 19: The 1980 Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whiskey. 240 bottles worldwide, £3,500 ex-VAT
  • Release no 20: The 1976 “Overproof” Jamaica Rum. 183 bottles worldwide, £2,600 ex-VAT
  • Release no 21: The 1959 Vintage Grande Champagne Cognac. 21(!) bottles worldwide, POA.

Rebecca Jago, Managing Director of The Last Drop Distillers notes: “This is a very special autumn for us: it is an opportunity to showcase a trilogy of superb releases that demonstrate our unique cross category approach. We are particularly excited to present our first ever Rum: this is a spirit we have long hoped to find, but we have been disappointed until now. Each of these spirits is a small marvel of its kind, just waiting to be savoured by those seeking the truly remarkable."

An exciting time for the brand, and a no-doubt even more exciting future with Colin on-board.


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