Whisky Advocate

The whisky I plan to open, and the story that goes with it.

December 22nd, 2011

Every Christmas Eve, before I got to bed, I open up a special bottle of whisky and enjoy a dram of it. Regardless of which whisky I chose to open, there’s a story that goes with it. That’s one of the reasons why it’s special. I make sure that I drink the bottle before the next Christmas Eve, when I open another special bottle.

I have an emotional attachment to whisky, and I make no apology for it. Whisky isn’t just about the flavor or rarity. There’s more to it than this. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t always open a whisky that I buy right away. Instead, I’ll wait for a special occasion.

Maybe that’s why I have over 300 unopened bottles of whisky, with a room in my house set aside just for them. With all this discussion lately about whisky collecting and whether it’s a good or bad thing to do, the reality is that it’s just not that simple. Like many things in life, it isn’t black or white, but rather some shade of gray.

I don’t think of myself as a collector. I refer to what I have as an accumulation rather than a collection. And I fully intend to drink, share, and savor every bottle I have before I die.

Take this bottle, for example. It’s the whisky I am currently planning to open this Christmas Eve. It’s a Glenmorangie Distillery Manager’s Choice.  I’ve had it for 13 years. Every time I look at this bottle or hold it, it it brings back a very fond memory.

This whisky was bottled in 1998, but the story actually begins a year or so before this. My wife and I were visiting distilleries in the Scottish Highlands. We made an impromptu stop at the Glenmorangie Distillery on our way back from visiting other distilleries farther to the north. We went to the distillery office and asked if Bill Lumsden, then Distillery Manager (and friend), happened to be in. Well, he must have heard my voice from his office, because he came running out and gave Amy and me a big hug. Then, without skipping a beat, he said: “There’s something you have to taste!”

Bill grabbed some keys and we ran through the pouring rain to one of the Distillery’s warehouses. Inside, in the dark, damp, chilly warehouse filled with with heavenly whisky aromas, he took me to one particular cask. He pulled the bung out, stuck a whisky thief into the barrel, and poured me a sample of what was inside.

I nosed the whisky and then took a sip, nosed it again and took another sip. Bill then asked, “what do you think?”

I told him I thought that it was the best Glenmorangie whisky I ever tasted.

“I agree, John,” he said,  “and it would be a shame for this one barrel to be blended in with some other Glenmorangie casks. I’d like to bottle this on its own, cask-strength and not chill-filtered, but I just have to figure out how to do it.” I said to Bill if he ever does bottle it, save a bottle for me. He said he would.

Shortly thereafter, the Glenmorangie “Distillery Manager’s Choice” was born, and this was the cask: distilled in 1981, aged in an ex-bourbon cask, bottled in 1998 at 54.5%, and sold at the distillery. Bill kept to his promise, saved me a bottle, and I’ve waited for the right moment to open it–this Christmas eve.

Thank you, Bill. And a big thanks to all of you who take time out of your busy schedule to stop by and read whatever happens to be on my mind at the moment. I wish you all the best in the New Year and hope it is filled with many memorable whiskies.

How about you? Are you opening anything special this holiday season?


No Responses to “The whisky I plan to open, and the story that goes with it.”

  1. Jerry says:

    I wonder if it would work if I typed in here, “John, if you ever open that special bottle of Glenmorangie, you must give me a call!” … and then you’d give me a call like your buddy Bill did? I doubt it. Merry Christmas, and thanks for a great story.

  2. Chris says:

    Great story John! I haven’t decided what I’ll open this weekend. I don’t have any cool stories about my bottles (yet), so I’ll probably wait until my friends come over, and we can go digging through my boxes and closets. I do have a 27 YO Glenfarclas bottled for Christmas several years ago, so that might be the choice. Thanks for sharing your story, and Merry Christmas!

  3. Roy Arguello says:

    Wow – beautiful bottle. Great story. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, for a second I felt like I was at the distillery.

  4. Richard Frehs says:

    John, Good story and great magazine. I look forward to each new issue! I have been trying bourbons since I am new to the spirit; a little over a year. I got started by trying preprohibition cocktails and collecting as many cocktail books that are available. I then turned to the history of bourbon and read as much of the books and reviews I could get a hold of. I am fond of Buffalo Trace. Christmas I am going to open a bottle of Ardberg 10 year scotch and give that a try.

  5. Thomas Mckenzie says:

    I myself plan to have a drink of our soon to be 3 year old bourbon whiskey. 3 years in a nice 53 gallon barrel. To celebrate one more year closer to it being bottled. Merry Christmas to you and yours John. I enjoy your blog.

    • Dutch says:

      Thomas, sounds great, where would this be aging at? and where/when do you plan on bottling? Enjoy, and have a Merry Christmas, I think my drink this Christmas will also be a bourbon.

  6. Red_Arremer says:

    That’s a nice tradition, and a nice bottle, John. I envy you because, as always during the holidays, I’m down at my grandmother’s in Maryland and there’s no whiskey to drink except the same ancient bottle of Jameson, that’s been sitting in her cupboard for years.

    When I get back to Mass. though, I think I might just crack a bottle Compass Box’s Eleuthera– A great whiskey, which Glaser ought to take a stab at recreating some time.

  7. Peter Benkoczki says:

    My Christmas dram will be the GlenDronach Parliament, i hope it will be fine for the night! 🙂

  8. Gregory says:

    Nice blog. This is my first time on it. I enjoyed your story. Last night I opened a bottle of Macallen 12. It is the first bottle of scotch I’ve ever bought…sort of a gift to myself. I love bourbon and was introduced to scotch last year on a trip with my boss. I didn’t know what I was missing. Actually Glenmorangie 10 was the first scotch I tasted. I’m hooked and I almost hate to say it, but I know I will be drinking more scotch than bourbon in the future. Happy Holidays!

  9. Ryan says:

    Nice story, and nice tradition, John. Merry Christmas to you!

  10. Vince says:

    Great story!! I admire the fact that you were able to hold the bottle for years. I would have opened it sooner. I am going to open the 2011 Four Roses limited release single barrel. My story isn’t as interesting as yours but I had the pleasure of meeting Jim Rutledge this year. We had dinner and shared this bourbon before it was released. He is a true gentleman and I really enjoyed the evening. Four Roses is one of my favorite distilleries and to celebrate the holidays and the year I want to pay homage to that distillery (and enjoy some great bourbon:)

  11. lawschooldrunk says:

    I opened enough over Thanksgiving that I can’t rationalize opening up more. I’ll just partake in those: Four roses small batch, Rittenhouse rye 50%abv, and an Aberlour A’bunadh batch 15.

    Only story I have from those bottles is the A’bunadh. I found three batch 15s on a high shelf and all were covered in dust. This was around the time that batch 31 just came out (2010). (Batch 15 came out in 2005.) I told the sales manager that technically, the batch 15s were discontinued and he may want to make room on the shelf for the new batch. I showed him the gathered dust and said that it probably meant people weren’t buying these particular items. I got each of the three batch 15s for somewhere in the mid $30s, and I managed to get a batch 21 for $39. Now to enjoy the benefits of that negotiation.

    • theBitterFig says:

      Reminds me of a bottle I recently let get away. Dropped into a small liquor store a few towns over while on a shopping trip, browsing the scotches and it’s Bowmore 17, old style labeling. Thing had to have been there since 2007, and it still had the 2007 price on it (nearly half of the list for the new 18yo). Probably should have bought it, but a little short on funds and it isn’t like it was an incredibly famous bottling or such. I console myself that if I come into some more cash, it’ll probably be there since clearly no ones bought it in the past four years.

      • lawschooldrunk says:

        The same store that had the A’bunadh had a case of bowmore 17yo in the beginning of 2008. I went there and bought the entire case (6 bottles) (and last case in the county) at $42 each. So, I am sorry you let the bottle get away. It’s one of my favorite whiskies.

  12. David says:

    Great story! I plan to bring some homebrew to my in-laws, a coffee cream stout, and share some Hazelburn Saunterness with my father in law. We were in Scotland last year and he liked the Hazelburn line so I figured why not try this one with him.

  13. Scott says:

    A great tradition! I’ve just recently opened a couple of special bottles, so I really can’t follow your inspirational tradition this Christmas Eve. Other potential occasions: New Year’s Eve (still probably too close this year, but maybe next …), Up Helly Aa, Burns Night, one’s birthday (in my case, St. Patrick’s Day), Independence Day or Constitution Day, St. Andrew’s Day in November, Thanksgiving. I think I’ll have to either pick one of these, or make a note to start the special-bottle-opening tradition next Christmas Eve. It’s good practice to tie this sort of practice to an annual date; doing so situates the individual bottles’ stories within the larger narrative context of the seasons and the arc of one’s life.

  14. Bryan says:

    A great story! What a special bottle. I can relate to your self proclamation as an “accumulator” rather than a collector, only my accumulation is of Belgian lambic and finer American sour ales. Though I’m a relative newborn in the whiskey world, I’ve begun to accumulate single malts and bourbons as well. I think I’ll need to get a bigger house soon!

  15. D. Houston says:

    Well said John, Glenmorangie Portwood got me into the scotch game and i think i will open my new bottle of Glenmorangie Finealta on Christmas eve and join you in a toast.

  16. Ben says:

    Not for the holiday season per se — I’m not a big holiday observer — but for my birthday shortly thereafter I have a new bottle of the Ardbeg Corryveckran I’m looking forward to trying. I’m also going to treat myself to another new acquisition and am trying to choose between the Glendronach 15 “Revival” and the Amrut “Fusion.” I suppose you can hardly go wrong with either, but any views and advice would be welcome.

    • Scribe says:

      Ben, you are right — you cannot go wrong with either of those! I will say, though, that I am on my second bottle of the Amrut Fusion and truly love it…plus, it always makes for a nice story when sharing with friends to point out it is not “Scotch”…it is Indian whiskey! Again, just set a goal to try both over time! 🙂

      • Ben says:

        If only my wallet would permit me to buy both for the same birthday! But alas, the Ardbeg called, and when Ardbeg calls I tend to answer . . .

    • Tinker says:

      My wife just bought me a bottle of Fusion for Christmas. Actually, she let me pick it, since browsing is half the fun. It’s a really nice whisky, and everyone I’ve shared it with has enjoyed it.

  17. Great story John. I have some 30 & 31 year old heavily sherried Blackadder Longmorns, which always put me in the Christmas spirit, with all the dark spices, tobacco and fruit. I usually open special bottles when out of town guests pay a visit to the scotch cellar. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas – Cheers!

  18. Jason Pyle says:

    Happy Holidays John and Merry Christmas to you, Amy, and Shannon. Enjoy that pour. Cheers!

  19. MrTH says:

    It will be one of the bottles I filled at Aberlour this year. I always fill one from the bourbon barrel, but this year I got one from the sherry cask as well. Maybe both….

    • John Hansell says:

      Last time my wife and I visited, we got one bottle from a bourbon and one from a sherry cask. I actually made a blend of the two: about 1/4 sherry cask and 3/4 bourbon cask. It’s really good!

  20. Nothing new for Christmas…. continuing through my december bottles with heavy emphasis on Glenlivet Archive 21 and Laphroaig 25 I think.

  21. Jason Beatty says:

    I’m a bit of a scrooge on Christmas and will finish off the Knob Creek Single Barrel I got from Clermont. It is very disappointing but I cannot stand looking at how my money was spent badly. GREAT STORY!!! I wish more distilleries would have exclusive bottles but then you run into folks buying through the stock and selling them on Ebay.

  22. Trey Brookshire says:

    My story happened tonight. I live in a small town in Texas. It’s not the most ideal place to hunt difficult to find bottles like Pappy Van Winkle’s, or the Trace’s Single Oak Project. Well lately, I have been hunting the 2011 release of George T. Stagg, and any other of the 2011 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. Sad to say that up until today I was batting zero, zilch, nada. While shopping for the wife’s Christmas gift I called a store two cities over which led to a store very close to me that had one bottle of the Eagle Rare 17yo. While checking out their bourbon stock I look up, and there sits a bottle of the 18yo Sazerac Rye. I bought both bottles for less than retail. Now I am feeling both blessed and lucky, and I remember a small store from my school days that I never went into before. I walk in, speak with their manager Thomas, and walk out with his last bottle of Stagg! Just a great day of whisky hunting. The only thing that would have made it better would have been a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle’s 20 or 23yo sitting there. Now I just have to decide which one to try first.

    • Vince says:

      Thats a great day Trey! I would start with the eagle rare 17 and work my way up to the Stagg! Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

    • Jason Beatty says:

      Scrooge: The Party Source is having a Single Oak Project tasting on February 3rd from 6:30 – 8:30 and you and I cannot go because I have to work (an hour and a half away from the event at that) and you’re in Texas.

      Santa: 17 Year Jefferson Presidential is right up there with the best Pappy (15 Year) that you are trying to get and I bet you can find it on some of the shelves.

      • Tom D says:


        A friend got a call from someone at a NJ store claiming to have a case of 2011 Stagg. I have a bottle in the basement right now that is open but we are going to take a drive and see what this is about.

      • Trey Brookshire says:

        Well Jason,
        I am at my In-laws for Christmas, and I see a store outside of a grocery store that I have to run into very quickly. I ask about Pappy’s, and the answer is the usual no, but, “We do have plenty of both the 17 and 18 yo Jeffersons Presidential Select if your interested.” I was quite interested! Thank you for your help. Now if someone could tell me why the 18yo is cheaper than the 17?

        • Jason Beatty says:

          The 17 came out a year earlier and is much better than the 18 year. It should be the same price, around $90. Buy up all you can of the 17 Year and don’t worry too much about not having a 15 Year Pappy because it might even be just a hair better. I might be wrong but I think Pappy’s grandson was at the helm when the 17 year was distilled. don’t tell too many people about the bourbon because we want to keep it all for ourselves. I think the local liquor store has about 10 bottles in the system here.

    • John Hansell says:

      Great story, Trey! Decisions, decisions…

    • Matt MacLean says:

      The Pappy this year was from Buffalo Trace according to Preston. The George T Stagg is much better. Try this site they will have it all. Just bought 2 William Larue Weller and 2 18 yr Sazerac 1 17 yr eagle. What do you want to pay for the Pappy and maybe I can find one for you. Let me know, I know of 2 20 yr Pappy $299 each.

      • Tom D says:

        Sent a friend in NJ to check out a store that said it still had 14 bottles of George T Stagg on the shelf back on 12/23. Friend shoots me a photo and they still have the whole BT Antique collection on the shelf. About $10 over the norm. Get it at $72 in NY. They were asking $79.

        • Matt MacLean says:

          What NJ store Tom, help a brother out? Maybe they will ship to California? email me or post it, thanks.

          • Tom D says:

            Total Wine in Cherry Hill. They don’t have a website but we called the guy and sent someone in. He picked it up. I don’t think NJ allows shipping at all but I am not sure. I am in NY.

          • Matt MacLean says:

            Thanks Tom, I will look into it, and see about the shipping to Cali.
            Wow! No good, they don’t ship, period. No license to offer shipping, in store pick up only. 🙁

  23. Henry says:

    Thanks for the story. Enjoy! I’ve been holding onto a bottle that’s unlikely to be very special whisky–except that it’s from a distillery new to all of us who’ll be drinking it. We started investigating single malts a little more than three years ago, and we’ve now tried offerings from more than 50 distilleries. But no Glen Ord yet, so we’ll open the 12 yo I have from James MacArthur’s Fine Malt Selections.

    Next we’ll move on to K&L’s marvelous new Chieftain’s bottling of an 18 yo Bladnoch. After a flight of three Clynelishes, we’ll side-by-side a couple of cask strength Springbanks. If our eyes aren’t too crossed to read labels by then, we’ll locate a nightcap of our current sherry bomb favorite, the Glendronach Revival 15 yo.

    Of course, this is just a fantasy since another friend will demand that we actually drink some of his whisky, as well. Yes, another holiday season filled with problems!

  24. This is nice human story about how things were even in 1998.
    I’m not so sure about things of this nature in the present time, but I would like to think that individualism like that shown by Bill Lumsden might still prevail.
    Being manager of a famous distillery like Glenmorangie is a privelege, and to have a special bottling from such a place is an extension of that privelege. So, enjoy and Slainthe’

    // John

  25. JC Skinner says:

    It’ll be a Glenfarclas 1993 limited edition in honour of my eldest turning 18 this year, and a Bushmills single sherry cask 15 yo to share with my Dad, whose appetite for Old Comber potstill has finally outstripped my ability to source bottles of the stuff (hardly surprising, since they stopped distilling around 60 years ago.)
    Still, I have a funny suspicion we will not be suffering unduly by reverting to Bushmills. Slainte agus Nollaig Shona!

  26. Jeff says:

    Great story, JH. At about this time last year, I posted that a bottle of Amrut Intermediate Sherry was slated for consumption. Well, I never did execute on that, and the AIS is still here and on deck for my Christmas dinner, along with a bottle of Sam Adams Infinium for starters. Skoal!

  27. Matt MacLean says:

    Nice one John!
    Was able to snag a photo at the SFWF this year. As we talked about the editors choice Glenrothes coming next year, (look for it) I will probably crack open a 1975 Glenmorangie that I received from a tip. The local whisky guru’s (Ravi and Jacob) mentioned they got a call, a guy selling his whole wine collection and one bottle of Scotch. Guess what, the bottle was this 1975 vintage, 100$ ! Image that action. Great Deal, and a fantastic whisky. Look forward to the year to come, and when you can if you haven’t already tried the 88′ Glenrothes it’s fantastic!

  28. Tom D says:

    I won’t open anything new until December 30th. That’s when the usual crew is getting together. We just came into possession of two bottles of Ardbeg 1974 24 year old SV and a bottle of Cadenhead 1974 Macallan Glenlivet 20 year old. 1974 is a key year for all of us getting together so one of those three will be opened.

    For Christmas, I can’t think of anything out of the ordinary as i will be the only scotch drinker there. A little homemade wine for dinner and an 8 year old port a friend made afterwards. Maybe a little Glendronach 12 I have open when no one is looking.

  29. JoshK says:

    None of my stories are that cool, of course none of my bottles are 13 years old either. My father-in-law does always manage to pull some good stuff from Duty Free before every Christmas dinner though.

  30. Tom D says:

    My one year old has two bottles of Midleton ready to go at Christmas but I don’t think I will let him open them just yet.. Maybe another 20 years or so….Then we will have a story

  31. Alex says:

    Perhaps the PC6 my wife gave me on our 10 year wedding anniversary for myself – The JW Signature might be better for the wider audience though at my place on Christmas day. Happy Holidays John!

  32. John R says:

    Great story, and I love the magazine and blog. This Christmas eve, our family and friends will be opening a 1.5L bottle of Willett Reserve (bottle #14!!!). When I picked up this bottle, the store owner asked that I report back if a genie popped out when I opened it!! Guess we’ll find out tonight. Happy Holidays!

  33. B.J. Reed says:

    very nice story John. i just received today from my 24 year old daughter a 1995 DE Lagavulin and my cousins a 15 YO Highland Parlk – What a great family!

    Not sure what tomorrow will bring but will have a good story attached to it!

  34. John Parker says:

    Great Story John, it’s 30 minutes into Christmas and I read your story and decided to open my Old Rip Van Winkle 23 year old family reserve. My wife gave this to me 2 years ago for my job promotion. It’s Christmas, time to enjoy.

  35. Gal Granov says:

    What a nice story.
    I am planning on opening my Old Pulteney bottled i filled earlier this year at the distilery. should be a fine dram and bring back lovely memories of our little trip up north with some amazing whisky folk such as Mark (whiskycast), Billy (TWE) Johan Hakan and Tommy (from Sweden) . what a magical time.

  36. Morgan Steele says:

    After service and putting the family to bed, I ended the evening by opening a bottle of Bruichladdich 9 year-old (SMWS, ex-bourbon refill, 65.1% ABV) and watching It’s a Wonderful Life. It was a spontaneously enjoyable cliche experience. The finishing touch was a midnight e-mail from a long, lost friend wishing me a Merry Christmas as he was enjoying the Laphroaig Triple Wood. Cheers to all my friends around the world!

  37. Christoph says:

    Hello John
    I just found your blog and I had to grin when I read that entry – because yesterday I did just the same thing. Well, I bought the Whisky in question just last week, but I already new this summer, that I want something special and I could open it on christmas.
    A friend of mine told me, that I should taste the Glenmorangie Signet – but it has a bold price tag on it, so I waited until the end of year bonus and bought it now. Yesterday night now I took the first sip and it’s fantastic. Maybe I’m gonna do the same thing next year with another whisky 🙂

    Merry Christmas

  38. Steve says:

    The bottle I cracked open on Christmas Eve was a Van Winkle Rye. I’d never been able to track down a full bottle, only pours from bottles at one particular casino in Vegas. For Christmas my wife tracked down not one, but two bottles. We always open one present on Christmas Eve, saving the rest for Christmas morning. Her gift was a pair of slippers. I’ll have to do better next year.

    • sam k says:

      Steve, I just ordered one of the 12 bottles of Van Winkle Family Rye that was allocated for the whole state of PA. cost me $71, and at that, it had better be good. I just couldn’t see myself passing up the opportunity when it was staring me in the face. Time will tell…

      • Jason Beatty says:

        I’m amazed at how the liquor stores are raising the prices on Pappy bottles. I paid around $55 for the 15 year. $71 for the rye is around double what he paid for it.

        • sam k says:

          PA is a control state, so the price is the same statewide. The bottle cost me $60 and a shipping fee, plus state sales tax, $71 total.

          • Jason Beatty says:

            Being a control state is not good for us drinkers. I can get a bottle of 18 Year Elijah Craig at Cost Co next door for $40, $2.50 lower than liquor store cost and no membership required for alcohol.

          • Steve says:

            I live in Georgia, which isn’t a control state, but due to the scarcity of Van Winkle Rye I’m sure she gave more for these bottles than she wanted. She knew I’d wanted a bottle since 2007 when I first tried it, and since they were Christmas presents I’m equally sure she upped her ceiling on what she’d give for a couple of bottles of whiskey. The bump in Van Winkle prices is why I’m still nursing my lone bottle of 20yo these past couple of years and now get my wheated fix from Weller.

          • Jason Beatty says:

            I tell ya, that 17 Year Jefferson Presidential is abundant because it does not have the name brand appeal. It is right up there with the best Pappy of the bunch and at $90. I just spent all I have on 2 bottles of the single barrel from The Party Source and will miss the day when there is no more left from that distillery.

          • Steve says:

            I picked up a bottle of the Jefferson’s Presidential 17yo early this year (I guess I can still say that since it’s only the 30th) but haven’t opened it yet. It will be a shame when all the S-W whiskey is gone, just at it will be a shame when the last of the original Pennsylvania Michter’s is gone. I think John liked the 18yo even more, rating it a 93, but I couldn’t justify the cash to pick it up when I hadn’t yet cracked open the 17yo. Maybe that’s something to look forward to next Christmas Eve. Lord knows I’m not lacking in unopened (and opened) bottles to get me through at least one more year (or decade).

            In the mixed blessing category, I just found out Pearson’s Wine & Liquor here in Atlanta is closing after more than 40 years at their Buckhead location. The owners are retiring and as a parting gift they are discounting heavily before they close for good tomorrow. I’m hoping to find a couple of gems to bunker away for special occasions. Maybe they’ll have a discounted Jefferson’s Presidential 17yo or 18yo.

          • John Hansell says:

            On average, I actually like the 17 year old better than the 18, so you are in good shape my friend. It was just a special Park Avenue Liquor single cask bottling of the 18 year old that I liked a lot.

      • Matt MacLean says:

        I am with you on that, I also picked one up in Coronado, Ca. for 120$ It is an awesome dram. This is the second bottle in 3 years that I have found of the 13 year rye. Keep looking, there out there!

  39. Red_Arremer says:

    Actually, I ended up buying a bottle of Deanston Virgin Oak when I went up to my girl’s fam in upstate NY for the second leg of my holiday trip. People really talk down on the DVO, but I’m finding it very enjoyable. It’s got some youth, but I feel that this works well with the virgin oak influence to create a nice snappy rough n’ ready dram. Good stuff at a great price.

    • John Hansell says:

      Ironically, I just tasted this again a few days ago. “Rough n’ ready” is a good way to describe it. Youthful and a tad agressive with the Virgin Oak influence. Very un-Deanstonlike.

      • Red_Arremer says:

        Not Deanstonlike at all, really. It kind’ve evokes Scotch if it weren’t an established phenomenon, but rather an emerging world whiskey style– Tastes like an overpriced early effort from, say a new distillery in Belgium… The kind of thing that you want to cut some slack, but definitely wouldn’t buy again for 70$. Except it is Scotch and you do have to deal with that legacy… And it’s reeeally cheap.

        For all its distinctiveness I don’t see many people “getting” its character. But it does have a real chance as a value single malt. Between the prices of the McClelland’s and Glenmo 10 there used to be the wide world of Glen Garioch 8, Bowmore Legend, Tamdhu 10, Auchentoshan Select, and Black Bottle 10. Now there’s just the little island of Deanston VO. It may well become a popular destination.

        • lawschooldrunk says:

          At $23 on sale, Old Pulteney 12yo is also an amazing buy. Dalmore 12 and Cigar malt used to also be a good buy but that went in the crapper.

          • Red_Arremer says:

            Wow LSD– 23$ for Pultney 12? Where do you live, cause I’d like to visit the area. Come to think of it I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen Pultney 12 on sale.

          • I found a deal on Old Pulteney 12 a while ago & stocked up. Everyone so often I crack one open – great with a hint of sea salt! Great everyday dram! Cheers, Bill
            PS Happy New Year!

  40. Speaking of Glenmorangie, I nearly cracked open one of my Glenmorangie Truffle Oak bottles over Chanukah but I could feel I had a cold coming on and had half a stuffed nose so I decided to pass. Perhaps for the new year! I have to say that I’m quite jealous of the Glenmorangie you have, John! Great story!

  41. Speaking of Glenmorangie, I almost cracked open on of my Glenmorangie Truffle Oak bottles over Chanukah. However, I could feel that I had a cold coming on and half a stuffy nose so I decided to pass – maybe on New Years Eve? I’ve got to say, I’m quite jealous of your Glenmo bottling, John! Great story! Happy new year (and a belated Merry Christmas to you and yours!).


  42. JDW says:

    Mine was a bottle of Parker’s cognac finished bourbon. Very enjoyable!

  43. Dan Shaffer says:

    I recently uncorked a 24 yr old Port Ellen Whisky Live bottling to celebrate my acceptance to Heriot Watt’s brewing and distilling program–an early double Christmas present to myself.

  44. Andre Girard says:

    Great story John.

    I’ve opened a bottle of Bowmore 1990 Sherry finish 53.8% and an Arran 6YO 1996 cask strength First Canadian Release hand signed. One of the first bottle my friends and I bought, when we began drinking single malts. At this time we’ve boughht a bottles each, numbered # 100, 111 and 112. Very nice bottling. Reminds me nice souvenirs.

  45. Frederick Wrightson says:

    Nice John. Enjoy it while you can (it’s not going with you).

    I was given a very nice Christmas present by my brother-in-law – Old Elgin-46 year-old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Distilled 1938. The Dram Taker’s. Adapted from the book of Kells circa 700AD. Gordon & MacPhail, Elgin. Single malt, 75cl, 40% volume. It was 46 years old when it was bottled in 1984 (which was when my brother-in-law bought it while on a golfing trip in Scotland and its been sitting in his cellar ever since). It’s 73 years old now! My big quandary was: do I put it on my ‘collector’s shelf’ or drink it. I’ve decided that it will be opened and enjoyed (but with those who appreciate single malts – especially old single malts).

    I’ll let you know how it is.

    All the best for healthy, Happy New Year.

  46. Andrey Rusev says:

    John, you are very good story-teller! I’m sure you enjoyed that Glenmorangie at Chrismas Eve but tomorrow there is one more special day – New Year’s Eve, one more bottle should be opened! 🙂

    Many greetings from Bulgaria,

  47. JMF says:

    Sorry I haven’t replied in a while but I have still been reading every post. I actually have the same tradition but on New Years Eve when I have some close friends over every year. This year I’ll be opening a 16 y/o Mortlach from Signatory which should be fun. Never had it before. Happy New Years to all!

  48. nikos says:

    Hello John,

    After reading this post i decided to adopt your story and do the same every Christmas. So, I spoke with my two best friends (whisky lovers) and decided to buy something special to welcome 2012. We purchased a Tomintoul 27 years old. Amazing colour, very soft, elegant, fruity and only 40% strong. It was so good, we almost finished the bottle…

    Thaks for this great idea, happy new year and all the best wishes for a cheerful 2012.

    Best Regards,

  49. Judd says:

    Mine was Pappy Van Winkle 23. The wife got me TWO bottles for Christmas, and that night, I popped one open and enjoyed to healthy drams 🙂 She drove 4 hours round trip to get them 🙂 BEST. WIFE. EVER.
    The other will stay stored for a time down the road when the occasion calls for it. I also had som George T. Stagg 2011. I was fortunate enough to get a case (6 bottles) as my state was allocated with some, and I was in the right place at the right time!! 🙂
    Happy New Year all!!

  50. Judd says:

    Sorry Dutch!!! X_x

  51. sam k says:

    I have enjoyed this thread immensely, and wanted to make it an even 100 comments! I’ll be opening a pre-Pro pint of Dillinger Pennsylvania rye this week to share with friends, including a fellow enthusiast on the west coast.

    I hope you all enjoy whatever wonderful surprises the industry may have for us in 2012!

  52. Eric Schauer says:

    Sorry for being so late to the thread…

    When I enlisted in the US Navy in 1983, my mom got me a bottle of a blended that shall remain nameless (we were all naive back then). I didn’t get to open it. Instead, she put it on the shelf and said I could have it when I got out. During my 20-year hitch I re-enlisted twice, and each time she got me another bottle.

    In 2008 my oldest son joined the Army. I got him a nice bourbon that promptly went on the shelf and we opened that first bottle that my mom got for me. This year, my second son joined the Navy, and we all shared bottle #2, with his choice of single malt going on the shelf.

    I have one more bottle that my mom gave me, and a youngest son with military aspirations. We’ll see. But regardless, I give high praise to my mother for unwittingly starting a great family tradition.

  53. Frederick Wrightson says:

    I thank you and your son’s for your service to our country. When I was drafted (in 1960), my dad gave me a $2 bill and said, ‘Keep this and you’ll never be broke.” But, each time I came home on leave, he poured us a glass of Jim Beam (he was wasn’t into Scotch and I didn’t ‘discover’ single malts until 20 years later). Your mom started a nice tradition and it’s nice that you are carrying it on with your sons. May they all have a safe journey.

  54. SteveMcGregor says:

    Hi John,

    Great story, great drink!

    It should be noted that the first whisky Bill Lumsden has tried to do himself (for the first time), Glenmorangie Pride, has been slated by Jim Murray in his 2012 bible. The sulphury notes are not good! What does this tell you John?

    Also, why is it that for the last 10 years GM have been trying to convince people that new wood is best and finishes are the best? Why would a company need to do this???


© Copyright 2017. Whisky Advocate. All rights reserved.