The North British Distillery, located near Edinburgh, Scotland, is a massive Scotch whisky making operation not likely familiar for many drinkers unless you happen to be a single grain whisky nerd. Established back in 1885, today it is run as a joint private venture between Diageo and Edrington that produces tens of millions of liters of whisky that mostly go into blends such as Johnnie Walker and Famous Grouse. Independent bottlers occasionally are known to raid a few single casks here or there for one off bottlings, but never before has there been a direct commercial release. That is, anyhow, until now.
The new North British 58 Years Old Limited Edition Grain Whisky, according to those behind it, is a one off release for this distillery that’s been drawn from a nearly six decades old, single hogshead cask. Originally distilled back in July, 1960, only 222 bottles of it are being released in what’s described as the first ever commercial (i.e. not sourced by an independent bottler) expression from here. It’s been bottled by Scotch whisky specialist Douglas Laing & Co for the distillery at 51.6% ABV, and it’s both of natural color and without chill filtration.
North British 58 Years Old (image via North British Distillery)
“As the eleventh managing director,” said Alan Kilpatrick, the distillery’s managing Director, in a prepared statement, “it is my great honour and privilege to release this single cask, our first ever commercial bottling. It was distilled in 1960 on the same Edinburgh site as the company commenced production in 1885 and still does to this day.”
“We are excited to be working with North British on such a special release,” added Fred Laing, Chairman at Douglas Laing. “As a family, we have long been single grain enthusiasts and as a business, we have equally been long term proponents of the single grain category – the fit is ideal. Handling the sales and marketing for such an exceptional spirit is both an honour and a great personal pleasure, such is its quality.”
The packaging of the “Incorporation Edition,” as it is being called, includes a weighty, hand-made oak casket. Each bottle is accompanied by a stitched booklet which has been hand signed and individually numbered by Kilpatrick. The whisky is set to price at £1,700, or close to $2,200 USD, when it debuts in November. Limited official tasting notes suggest “the resulting spirit shows butterscotch, caramelised pineapple and coconut on the nose, with a palate full of toasted oak, cinnamon and cloves; leading to a spiced toffee and molasses finish.”
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...