The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s inaugural contribution to the Distillers One of One auction at Sotheby’s (October 5, 2023) is what they describe as “a minimalist, environmentally friendly sculpture that puts the whisky at the heart of the offering.” The Only Drop by The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has spent 33 years in sherry casks and is encased by a bespoke paper pulp sculpture that’s infused with wood shavings from the original casks, reuniting the liquid once again with the vessel it matured in.
The whisky started in a very classic direction. On 25th September 1989, a spirit from a Speyside distillery (Scotch Malt Whisky Society distillery no 24) that was renowned for its use of sherry casks began maturing in an Oloroso sherry butt. Thirty years later, on 7th May 2019, ts contents were divided equally between a first fill Oloroso hogshead and a first fill Pedro Ximénez hogshead. Three years later they were reunited.
This bottling is seen as “a sculptural celebration of the relationship between whisky and cask. The one-of-a-kind handcrafted release serves as a visual narrative of the 33-year partnership that gave birth to this unique whisky. The liquid is represented by a ripple formation on the sculpture that’s inspired by the unrepeatable pattern of water in nature, with a droplet portal allowing a glimpse of the precious whisky within.”
Euan Campbell, Head of whisky creation at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, said in a prepared statement that “with such a unique one of one we decided to delve into the warehouse of some of the most rare casks that we have. The casks that I decided on in the end have an interesting backstory – a tale to tell – and when the samples arrived in the lab we had fun trying to put them together and figure out the right combination and arrive at the best flavour profile possible.
“The whisky originally started its life in 1989 and was left to mature in a single oloroso butt, but in 2019 I decided to split the contents of that sherry butt into two sherry hogsheads – one oloroso hogshead and one Pedro Ximénez hogshead. This bottling is the reuniting of these two liquids to create something one off and very special. We have very nutty dry flavours from the oloroso and sweeter dark treacly notes from the Pedro Ximénez, and they complement each other really well. There’s a real elegance to this that only comes with age. Overall, it’s a very decadent, elegant, old dram.”
This entirely one-off bottle and one-of-a-kind whisky was created exclusively for The Distillers One of One auction, which brings together a collection of never-to be-repeated Scotch whiskies from distilleries across the length and breadth of Scotland. The proceeds from the purchase of this whisky will principally go to The Youth Action Fund which helps transform the lives of the most disadvantaged young people by helping them develop their confidence, resilience, and skills so they are ready for life and work.
This one-of-a-kind set has accompanying the traditional 700ml bottle a 100ml miniature to allow the buyer to sample the whisky. It shares the same design features as the main bottle, such as the hand-dipped wax neck and foil embellishments. It also includes a hand-bound stitched and copper-foiled paper book documenting the concept, the journey and tasting notes of this release.
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...