OUR MOST SOUGHT-AFTER SPIRITS
We love old and rare whisky, spirits and liqueurs. Currently, the most collectible of these is single malt whisky, but each category has a following – no matter how niche – that makes every bottle special. Use the sections below to discover the most desirable single malt whiskies, blended whiskies, spirits and liqueurs on the planet, and those for which we have a particular passion.
SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Today, the lion’s share of the old and rare spirits market is taken up by single malt whisky from Scotland. The country boasts more than 100 active distilleries, including the well-known and respected Macallan, Clynelish, Laphroaig, Dalmore, Springbank, Highland Park, Ardbeg, Bowmore, Caol Ila, Glenfarclas, Glenlivet, Strathisla, Longmorn, and Talisker.
Alongside these are dozens of distilleries which are no longer active but whose whisky is still appreciated and sought-after by legions of whisky fans. These are referred to as 'lost distilleries' and contain theworld-famous Port Ellen, Brora, Rosebank, St Magdalene, Banff and Lochsidedistilleries, to name but a few… Our team, many of whom remember most of these distilleries being operational, are pleased to play our part in preserving their legacy.
In these pages we’ll take you through the distilleries we love, both active and lost, in depth and showcase the old and rare bottles that make them so special.
An independent bottler is a company that buys spirits in cask or bulk form and bottles them under its own name or brand. While it sounds like a very commercial enterprise, a skilled bottler is driven first and foremost by the emotions sparked by the contents of an exceptional cask, and the joy of sharing it with an appreciative audience.
Every cask in a warehouse will have a different character to the one next to it – something that really makes you appreciate the blender’s art! – and over the years one of the key triumphs of the independent bottling community has been to present the world with bottlings of single casks from almost every distillery, each of which reflects a split second in place and time.
Single cask bottlings are a treat for any whisky fan, but more importantly for the topic at hand, some of the most memorable single malts ever bottled were those selected by independent bottlers. With their freedom to select the casks they want, unfettered by the same concerns as distillery brand, independent bottlers have captured some legendary drams that have become true objects of desire for all whisky fans worldwide.
Want to find out more? Here's our guide to the most famous independent bottlers
For those new to whisky it can be easy to think that all of it comes from Scotland. While Scotland does produce a vast quantity, whisky – including single malt – can be made all over the world. In fact, there are several countries that have produced whisky for not just decades but centuries, very much like Scotland itself.
Just as there are very strict rules governing what can and can’t be called Scotch single malt and Scotch whisky, there are similar rules governing whisky production in every county and furthermore different techniques and climates in each country that lead to every one having a unique whisky style.
For whisky fans, this variety in both production and tastes makes word whisky, and in particular single malt, very special. Moreover, distilleries in countries such as Japan, Ireland and America have produced some incredible whiskies which over the years have become old and rare bottlings with an ever-expanding following.
Below, we explore some of the most popular whisky countries in the world.
FINE SPIRITS AND LIQUEURS
There are hundreds of different types of spirits and liqueurs, and each has its own following.
Every spirit tells a story. From ancient rums like Harewood 1780 to prestigious Cognacs like Remy Martin Louis XIII from the 1950s, AE DOR No.5 1840, Martell Cordon Argent and Hennessy Paradis, each bottle is a piece of history just waiting to be opened.
Though still misunderstood by many, the popularity of high-quality and old and rare liqueurs is on the rise. One of the most famous examples of this is Chartreuse, a drink with a very long history made by monks to a secret recipe, which boasts a distinctive freshness and complex taste that has won it a cult following amongst drinks connoisseurs.
Alongside Chartreuse are liqueurs crafted by famous brands like Campari, Gordon’s, Cinzano, Martini, Tia Maria, Cointreau and Grand Marnier, which have longstanding reputations for their reliable quality. With cocktail culture booming like never before, older bottles from these brands are gaining in popularity, not only because they are the reason the brands gained a reputation for quality in the first place, but also because they offer a unique flavour profile that’s often no longer available.