Speyside distillery Craigellachie has been going from strength to strength in recent years, winning plenty of awards for its impressive whiskies. And now the brand is pulling off an audacious stunt, releasing a 51-year-old whisky that it is giving away for free.
Rather than selling a whisky in a Lalique decanter for tens of thousands of pounds that would get snapped up by collectors never to see the light of day again, the distillery has put the liquid in its usual bottle and is opening up a ballot for those who want to be in with a chance of tasting it to enter.
'We wanted to do the unthinkable. We wanted to make a typically collectable Scotch more accessible,' said global ambassador Georgie Bell. 'We want to give as many people as we can the chance to try this incredible whisky, because how often does a whisky of this age and calibre actually get tasted?'
Craigellachie will be hosting a tiny pop-up bar called Bar 51 in Milroy's of Soho between 26 and 28 November, where the 140 lucky people chosen will enjoy a tutored tasting.
We were lucky enough to be given a sneak preview of the whisky, and are happy to report that it's delicious and well-balanced – not over-extracted – with a pleasing waxy character, and a touch of that rancio character that often comes through on aged Craigellachie.
'Fifty-one years encased in oak is an extraordinary length of time,' said Craigellachie malt master Stephanie Macleod. 'Starting life in 1962 as an aggressive beast, the whisky over five decades has developed a softer side, yet still retains the distinct umami, muscular note that Craigellachie is known for.'
The lottery has opened today, so head here to throw your hat in the ring to be one of the lucky few to share the rare.