The world’s oldest single-malt whisky was launched at Edinburgh Castle on Thursday to the sound of bagpipes and accompanied by Highlander guards.
The Mortlach 70 Year Old – which will retail for £10,000 a bottle – was distilled on 15 October 1938 and then transferred to a first-fill Sherry hogshead before being bottled exactly 70 years later on 15 October 2008.
The whisky, part of Gordon & MacPhail’s Generations range, is presented in a teardrop-shaped crystal decanter with a silver stopper.
It sits on a silver base and is packaged in a Brazilian rosewood box. Only 54 full-size bottles, and an additional 162 20cl bottles are available.
The smaller bottles, packaged in exactly the same way, are priced at £2,500.
Gordon & MacPhail’s joint managing director Michael Urquhart, who described the launch as ‘a historic moment in the history of Scotch whisky’, said: ‘We believe that Mortlach 70 Year Old is a malt without comparison.
‘If the reaction of those lucky enough to enjoy a dram today is anything to go by, whisky fans and people wishing to own a unique piece of Scotland’s liquid history will be very excited about it.’
The most striking thing I found was its freshness, considering the whisky was put into barrel before World War II. The nose is fruity and smoky with a hint of burnt sugar, and the taste is powerful and peppery, but softened with notes of orange peel and apple crumble. Some older whiskies have an excess of oaky flavours, particularly those matured in first-fill casks, but the Mortlach 70 is rather sprightly, given its age.
Written by Stuart Peskett