Ian Macleod Distillers pull out the 40yo big guns

Glengoyne 40

A few months back, Lucas and I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening watching Champions League football, drinking pints and sampling what we thought was going to be one of Ian Macleod’s biggest weapons in 2009, Smokehead 18yo. You can read our review here. We didn’t realise Ian Macleod so had many weapons left in the armoury.

So a couple of months later, I open our joint email account (it sometimes feels like we are married) there sits a notification of war against all other distillers. Ian Macleod has the big 40 year old guns out and they are poised, ready to be fired. Diageo may have the Empire, but there are strong rebel forces. UN peacekeeping units have been seen around Ian Macleod’s main base, but it’s too late.

A new release of a 40 year old Glengoyne, the oldest release they have produced, was teamed up with a 40 year old bottling of Springbank. I have to say I am really excited about both of these, and if the other releases Ian Macleod have done recently are anything to go by, they will be cracking whiskies.

The only problem (why do there always have to be problems?) is that last time I checked, I had not inherited Russian oil billions. The Glengoyne comes in a crystal decanter, beautiful oak box and there are only 250 bottles to be released from the sherry butt that held them. The cost: £3750.

Chieftain’s 40 years old Springbank has a similar style of packaging. Decanter, box, the works. This Whisky is one of 398 that came from a first fill Oloroso butt. The cost: £1000.

The limited nature of these whiskies pushes up the price and I suspect that I am not the target market anyway (poor blog writing student). I maybe should have changed the name of the post to “Ian Macleod wages war on rich peoples’ wallets”.

The price of this whisky provoked discussion between myself and Lucas. We took a look at similar limited whiskies: Black Bowmore 42 year old (£2250) and Highland Park 40 year old, which just picked up best new release in Whisky Magazine (£899). I also had a look at McTear’s upcoming auctions. Nothing over 2 grand, and they have some pretty rare stuff on. I understand that Ian Macleod will probably sell these 250 bottles, but the price is to say the least; excessive. Look at Glenfarclas. I could go on to The Whisky Exchange right now and buy a bottle of 42 year old Glenfarclas, from the family casks, for £450. Only 240 bottles from the cask and it would be an absolutely cracking whisky.

These releases are definitely for the high end of the market and collectors. All I can express is pure envy.

It’s good to see Ian Macleod pull out the big guns. I can’t wait to see the other Distilleries retaliation. Is there going to be one?


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