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Five Incredibly Rare Spirits For The Future

Rare spirits for the future. You’d be forgiven for wondering what I mean by this. 

This list of individual bottles and then some broader ranges of spirit styles may first come across a little confusing. 

I’m not one for keeping bottles and hoping to turn a profit. However, some of these whiskeys and spirits are true liquid time capsules with fascinating histories and incredible flavor profiles. 

These spirits are rare and will only become rarer. So, if you would like to invest in some future, incredible taste experiences, look no further. 

St. Magdalene 1982 40 Year Old Gordon & Macphail Private Collection

BUY NOW: $5,649.99 

Opened in 1798 and closed in 1983, St. Magdalene (also known as Linlithgow) is one of the truly sad losses in the world of silent distilleries. I am yet to meet someone who doesn’t have good things to say about this liquid in any format that it was bottled in. 

St Magdalene was somewhat of a shining light in the lowland whisky world, along with distilleries such as Rosebank and Glen Flagler. It produced this beautifully delicate, floral spirit. 

In my experience, St. Magdalene can also go extremely farmyard-like in flavor. I was honestly blown away by the first one I sampled. It was almost like a more delicate Brora but without any trace of the peat. 

You could call this a little bit of personal bias, as I would love to own the bottle listed above and open it for the pure pleasure of a liquid like this at 40 years old. 

St. Magdalene rarely sees the light of day, but Gordon & Macphail seems to have a particular affinity for the whisky, bottling it as part of the Private Collection Series. There have been releases over the past few years, but this, the oldest liquid of them all so far, is limited to just 150 bottles worldwide. If I had $4,000 spare to treat myself and wanted one of the best experiences ever in whisky, this would be it. 

Laphroaig 34 Year Old Ian Hunter Book 4

BUY NOW: $999.99 

Some of you may be a little confused already by this one. Why book 4 and not book 5? Surely the last one of the range is the one to get? Well, yes, sometimes. But with the Laphroaig 34 Year Old Ian Hunter Book 4, there is something to be said for the color. 

Laphroaig and sherry is a slightly more common sight these days, especially with the Laphroaig 10 Year Old Sherry Cask. However, sherry was once reserved for the Laphroaig Cairdeas releases or vatted into some of their older stocks such as the 25 year old. 

But to see this rare spirit in the flesh is something else, you know you’re on for a massive hit of sherry when it’s so visible through green-tinted glass. 

We’ve not even begun to get onto the flavor profile that old Laphroaig has hidden away. It’s quite incredible that a distillery can be so famous for making whisky that totally divides the room at a whisky tasting. But when Laphroaig gets older it is quite possibly the most unique and complex spirit on the planet. That’s a personal belief, but I’m willing to fight for it. 

Gordon & Macphail Macallan Speymalt Releases

Buy 1998 Macallan Speymalt: $1,999.99 

Macallan. There you go, enough said. Macallan does make good whisky, it’s just expensive. Enter the good old folks of Gordon & Macphail to bottle Macallan distillate more practically and affordably. They aren’t always bottled at cask strength as you can often find a 14 year old whisky for about $260. 

However, I’d recommend just saving up and waiting for the odd 25 year old release that drops into the market for about $580 or so. It’s an incredible way to try great whisky for a much more respectable and obtainable price point. 

We’ve all heard the sad news that Gordon & Macphail is soon ceasing independent bottling operations. However, that process is going to take a long time. We have no idea how many casks and styles they have ready to bottle in the next six years. However, given the company’s track record and the seemingly vast supply of high-age statement casks, it is safe to say that G&M will be bottling some more incredible whisky before its time comes to an end. 

Cask Strength Bowmore

Buy Bowmore 10 Year Old Tempest: $99.95 

Whilst ‘cask strength Bowmore’ is a bit of a vague category, I stand by my long-held belief that Bowmore at cask strength is some of the best whisky in the world. 

I’ve been lucky enough to try single cask, cask strength, sherry, bourbon, and port versions of Bowmore. They have all been incredible. I understand that Bowmore has a set market to aim and operate towards (see luxury collaboration with Aston Martin). However, when the whisky is bottled at a natural strength I just lose my mind and my wallet and buy it without any hesitation. 

This is a plea to Bowmore – if anyone from the owning company or the distillery is reading. I beg you from all of the whisky fans in the world who love your products: please give us something cask strength, or just a higher ABV and I will give you money for it.

Currently, these Bowmore cask strength expressions are very few and far between. So, if you see a rare cask strength Bowmore then I would advise buying it. You will not be disappointed. 

Old Armagnac

Buy Delord 25 Year Old Bas Armagnac: $62.99 

Let me first start by saying that I do have respect for Cognac and the skills, processes, and time that goes into making it. Especially when it comes to things like Remy Martin Louis XIII – I will say that you get what you pay for with that product. 

However, Armagnac is criminally underappreciated and offers you the best bang for your buck. If you’re looking for 25 year old French liquids then it is possible to pick stuff up for as little as $70! 

Yes, you might not get the crystal decanter and a fancy box made of leather, but you will get a rare spirit of great age for great value with a decent presentation. 

Plus, all of this stuff is about enjoying the liquid, not staring at it, and hoping a day will come that is good enough to open it. It’s a Wednesday when I’m writing this, open it now – what more of a reason do you need?

Phil Dwyer

Having worked in whisky retail for a decade, and running Whisky Wednesday on YouTube for nearly as long, Phil has always wanted to learn, talk and tell everyone as much about whisky as he can.

Whisky can be overly complicated at times. Phil wants to end that. Brands have pushed far too much jargon into the drinking atmosphere; it's difficult to breathe when whisky is mentioned at times.

Phil also manages The Whisky Shop Manchester stocking some of the best drams on the market.

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