Well I got completely blindsided by James Espey today as he walked into K&L this morning armed with a case of very expensive whisky. Never having met him before, I was unaware that Mr. Espey is a veteran's veteran, a huge figure in the history of Scotch whisky. Try this: he was the head of what is now Diageo. The head. He created both Malibu Rum and Johnnie Walker Blue. How many sales reps have created two of the most successful brands in the world? What's crazier is that he used to sit on the SWA board and, after he began working for Chivas, he was the guy who changed the law stating that a blend can only advertise the age of the youngest whisky involved (as a way to prevent his former Walker Blue from claiming the oldest possible age statement). It was truly an honor to taste with this man, but I thought he was visiting to bring me a cognac (which he was). However, I was far more interested in his tale of a whisky he also carried with him. Being retired from the industry now, Espey still has a passion for whisky as a hobby, so he decided to team up with some buddies to put together something very rare and very special. Tom Jago (who created a little brand called Baileys) and Peter Fleck have joined with Espey to create The Last Drop, a company dedicated to bottling very old and very rare spirits.
The Last Drop Blended Whisky is maybe the most amazing whisky I have ever tasted. It's difficult to say that for sure, but I don't remember ever being as floored as I was when I drank this in. In the past, when I've tasted outrageously old and expensive whiskies, I remember thinking they were very interesting or very different, but rarely did I want to dive back in and immediately have more, more, more! For more than $2000 a bottle, it had better be draw-dropping. It is. What's in it?
This is blend of 70 single malts and 12 grain whiskies, all distilled in 1960 and then vatted and barreled for twelve years. All eight Islay distilleries are a part of the formula, as are just about every other major distillery, those both currently operating and mothballed. In 1972, the whiskey was filled into fresh sherry butts and aged for another thirty-six years. The result is ungodly. Dark, brown colored, almost an earthy hue, this stuff puts any high-end Walker blend to shame. Jim Murray has rated it as the best blended whisky currently available, giving it a whopping 96 points and I've seen that Hansell at the Malt Advocate is also a very big fan.
There are very few of these precious bottles available in the U.S., but a few have been made available to me for any interested parties. I don't have that much money to spend on a bottle of whisky, but if I ever did, this is 100% for sure the bottle I would buy. It's really that good.