Review: The Last Drop Redefines Rare and Extra-Aged Spirits
Their latest releases include a cask from Scotland’s oldest distillery, a unicorn Japanese whisky blend and a 70-year old Cognac
What we’re drinking: The Last Drop’s 2022 Collection of Remarkable Spirits, featuring a 20-40-Year-Old Japanese Blended Malt Whisky (Release No. 25), 1950 Hors d’Age Petite Champagne Cognac (Release No.26) and 1977 Glenturret Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Release No.27)
Where it’s from: Founded in 2008 — and acquired by the Sazerac Company in 2016 — The Last Drop Distillers are “curators of the world’s most remarkable spirits.” The company has released just 27 limited-edition bottlings across the categories of Scotch, Cognac, bourbon and rum over the past 14 years, comprising fewer than 11,000 bottles in total.
Why we’re drinking this: “We don’t claim to be the best, oldest or most distinguished,” as Managing Director Rebecca Jago, the daughter of The Last Drop co-founder Tom Jago, tells InsideHook. “The real core of the brand is storytelling.” While the search for these rare spirits often involves an exotic yet real-life tale, the three most recent releases came at a time when no one from the company could actually travel (due to Covid-related restrictions).
Recently rebranding a bit — more on this below — The Last Drop’s newest released finds the exotic spirits curators and blenders making their first foray into Japanese whisky, along with newly-released, extra-aged Scotch and Cognac expressions. “We’d really long sought after a Japanese whisky, but it’s sort of a unicorn and increasingly popular, so people don’t want to sell it to you,” Jago admits. “And penetrating Japan as a place and culture is difficult as well.” That said, Jago eventually found someone “who knew someone” who helped get a single cask of 20-40-year-old malt whisky, some of which sourced from the famed (and closed) Hanyu distillery, among other places.
How it tastes:
The latest three releases arrive in new packaging — a bespoke, clear glass bottle suspended mid-air in an oak case. “It showcases the liquid the more overtly,” says Jago. “And we’re having a bit of fun.”
- The Last Drop 20-40 Year Old Japanese Blended Malt Whisky: A number of Japanese whiskies were married together in an ex-Sherry cask. this amber-colored release features notes of a fruity tea with a real tropical bent, a bit of almond, a hint of oak and even some floral or perfume moment on the nose — at 120 proof, it’s surprisingly delicate with a creamy texture.
- The Last Drop Hors d’Age Petite Champagne Cognac: A whopping 70 years old, this single estate cognac — from Petite Champagne terroir and a family-owned distillery — has a lot of candied fruit on the nose, some wood, licorice and a bit of mint on the plate and an intense dryness on the finish. Definitely a love-it-or-hate-it release, but certainly memorable.
- The Last Drop 1977 Glenturret Single Malt Scotch: The standout here, this 44-year old Highland single malt from (reportedly) Scotland’s earliest distillery was aged in an ex-Sherry hogshead, this one is malty, fruity, and bright (particularly on the nose) with hints of toffee and leather.
Fun fact: As you can see above, it’s not just about buying up old and rare casks; The Last Drop utilizes some of these rare finds to come up with their own blends, with the help of an Avengers-like drinks super team including Drew Mayville, Sazerac Company; Richard Seale, Foursquare Rum; Louise McGuane, JJ Corry Irish Whiskey; Michael D’Souza, Paul John Indian Whisky; and Denis Lahouratate, Domaine de Sazerac, Cognac.
Where to buy it: These bottles — available in runs of just 168-375 bottles — are available worldwide at suggested retail prices starting at $4,499 and up (you may want to write to them to find out where these bottles can be procured).
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