When Rarity and Quality Collide

Our magnificant cask of Ladyburn arrived today and I snagged one bottle out of the batch to taste with the staff before sending the rest over to the processing center.  We hyped this whisky to the moon, so much so that it sold out completely despite no one having ever tasted it but David and myself.  The fact that the most expensive whisky we bought happened to be the first to sell out caught us completely off guard, as we were nervous about anyone buying it at all.  Nevertheless, our descriptions and enthusiasm won over the curiosity of our loyal customers and the bottles flew out of inventory faster than we could have ever imagined.  Now all we had to do was make sure that the whisky we delivered matched the expectation we created.  I popped a bottle earlier today and I'm thoroughly relieved to report that it's just as magical as I remember.

When Val drove up with the cases, I breathed my first sigh of relief because when we originally purchased the cask from Signatory they were working with JVS to import and distribute it.  However, about two months ago Signatory decided to terminate their relationship with JVS without naming a new distributor for California.  This happened after we sold out the barrel and sent us into an immediate panic.  How the heck were we going to get the bottles if they were no longer working together?  Luckily we managed to get both sides to agree to one final shipment and the whisky has now arrived in our warehouse, safely and securely.  Val, who likes to collect many of the bottles he imports, was in the rare situation of not having tasted one of his own imports.  I brought him back to my office for a sample and he rejoiced over what he held in his glass.  He bought two of the extras we had and shook my hand. "This is truly amazing whisky," he replied before leaving.

The amazing thing about this Ladyburn cask is that the rarity alone justifies the price tag.  The distillery only operated between 1966 and 1975 and today supplies are definitely scarce.  While Ladyburn is one of the more difficult malts to find, it isn't necessarily sought after for its quality.  Made in the typical Lowland style, the flavors are soft, easy, and deceptive.  Had this cask been bottled twenty years ago there may have been little nuance to savor.  Today, however, the gentle style of the Lowland seems to have benefited from a long sleep inside an old bourbon cask.  When David OG and I saw this barrel in the Pitlochry warehouse, we wanted to taste it simply because it was Ladyburn.  Neither of us had ever tasted anything from the distillery and it was merely an educational curiosity.  We never expected it to actually taste as good as it did.

If you watch the whisky auctions like Bonhams, occasionally a bottle of Ladyburn 12 will show up and sell for well over $5,000 a bottle.  This is 100% due to the rarity of the bottle.  I've never heard of Ladyburn 12 being one of the great malts of all time.  What's great about our cask is that you can actually drink it and savor the fact that rarity and quality have come together to provide one of the most pleasurable drinking experiences I've ever had. 

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll