A $120,000 single malt is the world's oldest. Here's how it tastes.
Only one pre-WWII whiskey has ever been sold in collection, the 80-year-old spirit from Gordon & MacPhail.
As the dark clouds of war gathered over Scotland in the month of February of 1940, Mr. George Urquot and his father John, who had just arrived from Spain at the luxury grocers Gordon & MacPhail, poured whiskey from the Glenlivet distillery into an American oak barrel that had just been shipped by their company, the luxury grocers Gordon & MacPhail. In preparation for joining the Seaforth Islanders for the war effort, George, the so-called "grandfather of single malt," was preparing to join them.
It was at that time that all goods, including the raw materials that are used to make whiskey, were being rationed as the world was descending into global conflict. This meant that Scotland's most famous export was already becoming scarce. The fact that this barrel survived the roaring, post-war commercial demand is even more remarkable since whiskey production stopped until 1945.
Gordon & MacPhail has been crafting single malts for 120 years and four generations under family ownership. They currently own barrels from over 100 distilleries that have been closed, many of which have long since closed their doors. In addition to being the oldest single malt Scotch ever released, Generations 2021 is also the only whiskey ever sold in a collection before World War II.
The experience of drinking from a $120,000 bottle of whisky is one that is most often referred to as contemplative, almost spiritual. It is not enough to drink your dram at once; you need to drink it slowly in order to expand the event as well as to allow the dark amber juice in the traditional Glencairn glass to mature. It will take approximately an hour for the whiskey to metamorphose, transforming beautifully and growing in the glass over the next hour. Breathe deeply, often and deeply. Marzipan and Christmas cakes are the first notes that come out of the bottle, but they are quickly followed by orange peel and a faint scent of leather and tobacco.