The Glenlivet Winchester Collection: Vintage 1964

The Glenlivet Winchester Collection: Vintage 1964

In the world of whiskey every now and then something ‘special’ emerges from the cellars – this was one of those times. Being present when The Glenlivet unveiled The Winchester Collection was pleasing in itself, but be introduced to the collection by Matser Distiller Alan Winchester himself was certainly a coup.

“I can get cherry notes in this” he says as he noses the vintage while swirling it round his glass.

“We always drink it with water – well I do. It releases the flavor and takes away the alcohol kick, the sharpness. It’s like walking in the countryside in a shower of rain. And the good thing is, if you put too much water, you can always add more whiskey to get it back up to strength!” Spoken with the confident smile of a man who knows. What we were tasting of course was no ordinary whiskey, it was the first in a series of rare and precious 50 year old single malt Scotch whiskies from the single malt that started it all. Referred to as “Vintage 1964”, this 50yr is the first release from The Winchester Collection, anticipated to become one of the most sought after and priceless whiskey collections on the planet.

Alan continues to educate me in the signature flavours of his charge;

“The Glenlivet style is floral, fruity, summer fruits when it’s younger. The features change as the whiskey matures and the oak casks interact with the whiskey. Then you get these rich, peardrop smells, oranges and a touch of toffee, you know Bannoffi. The flavor is haunting; it’s hauting, it’s there and it will keep repeating itself. It’s a long tasting complex whiskey. Americans call it sipping whiskey, you can sip it and enjoy, perfect for a cold winter’s night.”

“It has the way of a complex old spirit. That said if you come to my house you’ll be having a [Glenlivet] 12yr – that’s what you’ll be drinking.”

Quite the invitation, one given the experience of this particular Glenlivet vintage I would accept in a heartbeat. But mind you I had been very spoiled;

“Only 100 bottles [of Vintage 1964] will be made. When you think a cask can lose to the Angels every year 2%, we’re lucky we have any bottles left.”

There has been another 50yr released with the Glenlivet name on the “Glenlivet 1948”, but I’ve been assured that the Vintage 1964 is an altogether more intricate proposition.

“Glenlivet 1948 was a bottling by Gordon Mcphail so while it has some characteristics of a Glenlivet it’s not a ‘true’ Glenlivet 50yr bottling. With the Vintage 1964, we’ve had full control from start to finish.”


Alan Winchester Collection Glenlivet 50yr jewlw cap 960

Just 100 bottles of this remarkable Speyside single malt, priced at £18,000 ($25,000) each, will go on sale around the world, with the very first bottle – Bottle No 1 – going on sale at one of the world’s most prestigious retailers, Harrods, this October. An undisclosed number of further releases from The Winchester Collection will then follow, with “Vintage 1966” confirmed to be next in line. Befitting its price tag, no expense or attention to craftsmanship has been spared in creating the perfect vessel to house it, with every element hand-crafted by artisans from the British Isles, from hand-blown glass, to the inclusion of precious materials such as rose gold and ‘Cairngorm Stone’. It is under the care and guidance of my interviewee Master Distiller, Alan Winchester – from whom the collection quite rightly takes its name – that Vintage 1964 has been deemed ready to be enjoyed by only the most ardent and discerning of single malt connoisseurs.

The next release from The Glenlivet Winchester Collection will be Vintage 1966, the launch date of which has yet to be announced. If the Vintage 1964 has served to ignite your intrigue, you can join The Guardians of The Glenlivet programme to find out more information ~

Alan did have a parting word of wisdom for me:

“The 25yr Glenlivet would be a good cigar malt, because of the Cherry influence. It would work perfectly.”





“This release marks a milestone for The Glenlivet. Casks of this age and quality are such a rare thing these days that I’m immensely proud to introduce the first of these rare vintages of preserved stocks from the distillery’s rich past. They’re a testament to our legacy of quality and to those who have nurtured this whisky over the years, including Captain Bill Smith-Grant, who played such a pivotal role introducing our single malt to the world.” – Alan Winchester, Glenlivet, Master Distiller




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