There are few things I love as much as or more than great whisky; my wife, Liverpool Football Club and hearing about the entrepreneurial spirit that lives amongst us all.
It is the final one of the list that I’m going to talk about today, specifically about independent bottlers, The Last Drop.
If you don’t know them, they describe themselves thus:
The Last Drop Distillers specialise in discovering and hand-bottling the finest, rarest and most exclusive spirits in the world from remote cellars and warehouses located largely, but not exclusively, in Scotland. The team’s quest is rigorous and painstaking, choosing liquids that are both incredibly old and exquisitely fresh, a juxtaposition that makes The Last Drop collection truly unique.
And they are genuinely a really lovely bunch of people. Although I appreciate I say that about many people in the whisky industry, I really enjoyed being in their company on a sunny Monday afternoon in London not too long ago.
I was there to be amongst the first wave of people to sample their seventh release, and by pure coincidence, and diligence in turning up bang on the dot, I became the first person in the UK to try their 54 year old 1961 Dumbarton outside of the The Last Drop team. Marvellous.
Back to entrepreneurial spirit.
The Last Drop was founded by whisky industry legends James Espey and Tom Jago who worked on creating, building and defining the now globally renowned and loved brands of Baileys, Chivas Regal and Johnnie Walker amongst others. Not a bad joint CV.
Then, seven years ago, faced with the prospect of retiring they decided not to and instead create a super premium brand in The Last Drop with a mantra centred around releasing the most incredible whiskies (and a cognac), often long-forgotten by their parent distilleries.
This afternoon I speak of was also the very first time that all of their releases had ben present and sampled in the same room, I felt very privileged.
I heard from the team how they have created incredible packaging, complete with miniature of your multi-thousand pound purchase housed in a removable tray so you can still have a complete-looking leather finished box housing your special release long after you have enjoyed the miniature.
The passion behind their creations was astounding; their small team all have incredible whisky and spirits industry credentials, and each one of them is galvanised by the prospect of making this brand work, and it has done.
The Last Drop 50 Year Old Double Matured Whisky
The Last Drop 1967 Glen Garioch Single Malt
The Last Drop 48 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky
The Last Drop 1960 Blended Scotch Whisky
The Last Drop 50 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky
The Last Drop 1950 Cognac and of course
The Last Drop 54 Year Old 1961 Dumbarton
All were stunning, all were moreish, all were worthy of buying and all were firmly bucket list drams that I doubt I will get to try again, and that’s ok as the memory will live on.
Retailing on release between £1,500 and £3,000 so far, these are not for the light-walleted, but for the buyer in that price bracket, they are worth every penny.
The entrepreneurial spirit, passion and pleasure in what they all do was lovely to be a part of for the briefest of moments. I truly hope The Last Drop not only succeeds in the long term, but that I get to try their future wares as well.