Saturday, April 08, 2006

$20,000 DRAM

The world's oldest single malt whisky has been sold at auction for more than £11,000. A 750ml bottle of Glenfiddich, distilled nearly 70 years ago in 1937, fetched $20,000, during the sale in New York. It was bottled in 2001 after the distiller found it had the requisite amount of alcohol - 40% abv - needed for a single malt and had an "extraordinary" taste.

Glenfiddich said it was very unusual for a malt to retain enough alcohol for so long. The tasting notes describe it as being full of complex and subtle flavours, including a "wonderful toffee caramel and cinnamon nose, chocolate and treacle flavours and unique rich walnut colour."

One of a batch of 62 bottles, the rest of which were distributed around the world, the auctioned bottle was bought by New Jersey-based collector Dan Weiss at New York's Grand Central Station and was timed to coincide with the city's Tartan Week celebrations.

Glenfiddich said the proceeds would be donated to New York charity "City Harvest", which provides food and shelter for homeless people.

Glenfiddich director Peter Gordon, who is the great-great-grandson of distillery founder William Grant, said: "As this is the oldest single malt in the world I was delighted to see it safely in the hands of its new owner. It was a real responsibility to bring it from Scotland although we had it well packaged just in case of any mishaps.

“I am very fortunate to have been able to taste a tiny sample of the Glenfiddich 1937 before it was bottled and can report that it has a wonderful toffee caramel and cinnamon nose, chocolate and treacle flavours and unique rich walnut colour. It really is an extraordinary Scotch whisky, full of complexity and subtlety.

“Although, whether or not its new owner will ever discover this I'm not sure. Having paid $20,000 for it I imagine it will take a very special occasion for this single malt to be cracked open - but I'd love to be there if it is."

Mr Weiss, who has more than 250 bottles of single malt in his collection described the Glenfiddich 1937 as his "crown jewels" and confirmed that it would have to be a "heck of a special occasion" before his new purchase was opened and drunk.

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