Yes, you read the story headline correct – a 51 year old whisky is being made available for a free tasting. The distillery it heralds from is Craigellachie, which is owned by Dewar’s/Bacardi and located in Scotland’s Speyside region. The reason why this is happening? Because “the whisky has been resting in oak for 51 years. It doesn’t need to sit on a shelf for another 51 years collecting dust.”
The Craigellachie 51 Year Old, according to those behind it, is being put through a rather interesting social experiment in consideration of making a highly collectible Scotch which might otherwise command top dollar if bottled instead getting offered up for tasting in four key markets over the next year. How it will all go down goes something like this:
From November 26th – November 28th, Craigellachie will host a tiny pop-up called Bar 51, a bar within a bar. Over three consecutive nights, this mini bar will be located in London’s oldest whisky shop, Milroy’s of Soho. Bar 51 will debut in London before travelling to Australia, South Africa and the U.S throughout the next year.
Reservations for Bar 51 go live at 9am on Monday 29th October, 150 tickets will be given away for free, chosen at random.
“We wanted to do the unthinkable,” said Craigellachie Global Ambassador, Georgie Bell, in a prepared statement. “We wanted to make a typically collectable Scotch more accessible. We want to give as many people as we can, the chance to try this incredible whisky, because how often does a whisky of this age and calibre actually get tasted?”
Those who are able to secure tickets through a random drawing will also go through a tasting of Craigellachie 13 and Craigellachie 17 year olds, followed by a Craigellachie cocktail in a “hidden cocktail bar.” All of this is said to be on the house as well.
Craigellachie, for those unfamiliar with it, is a distillery more normally known as being a component whisky for blended Scotch offerings. On its own its tasting profile is found to be uniquely savory, the product of a distilling process that, from start to finish, aims to preserve some portion of the sulphurous compounds many distilleries go to great lengths to excise.
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...