Whisky Advocate

New Glenfiddich 50 year old

July 30th, 2009

At $16,000 for a bottle, it’s a little out of my price range. I’ll see if I can twist some arms and get a sample. If I do, I’ll let you know my thoughts.

I think there was a press event in the UK, maybe someone has tasted it over there and can chime in here?

21 Responses to “New Glenfiddich 50 year old”

  1. Serge says:

    John, I’ll try it in September.
    ‘Buy a car or buy a bottle’ (some would say save a small African country of buy a bottle) whiskies always make for truly insane tasting sessions where it’s hard to control your feelings, whatever the liquid inside your glass.

  2. JC Skinner says:

    I really think distillers are at risk of killing off the goose that lays their golden eggs with this sort of pricing.
    I’m culturally resistant to supporting that level of profiteering, and so will find myself subconsciously or consciously veering away from even the affordable ends of their ranges when firms release these sort of bottlings.
    A pal once described them as millionaire’s trinkets. It’s therefore difficult as a whiskey buff to consider them in what ought to be their true value and context – what they taste like.
    The list of miscreants grows ever larger for this sadly. Ardbeg, Macallan, now Glenfiddich, and there are others.
    If those distillers or others state, by way of such releases, that they are interested only in oligarchs and rock stars as customers, I don’t have a problem removing my custom from them and preferring other distillers who have yet to give in to this odious trend.
    I love my whiskey for its taste (these whiskeys will scarcely be tasted at all, as evidenced by the fact that a leading Whisky magazine publisher cannot obtain a sample for discussion.) I also love whiskey for its heritage and its heritage is as a drink of the people, not a rarefied event permitted only to the superwealthy.
    It becomes increasingly unjustifiable to explain to people why one loves whiskey when they see headlines like this and assume that whiskey buffs are little more than aspirant, crass and vulgar.
    Sorry for going on about this, but I feel very strongly.

  3. Horst says:

    Why not charging that much money for a rare bottle? There are people out there, who have more than enough money to buy them.

    Profiteering? Not really. They are recycling their petro or gas dollars and we can be happy, that they keep the economy moving.

    If those people do not understand, that a 21y.o. Single Malt may taste better, then we will be happy that these malts stay low in price for us regular connoisseurs.

  4. Cary says:

    FYI

    2009

    Single malt has £10,000 price tag

    A single malt Scotch whisky is to go on sale for £10,000 a bottle, its distiller has announced.

    The Glenfiddich Distillery described the 50-year-old single malt as “the pinnacle of our whisky-making excellence”.

    It will release just 50 bottles every year for the next decade.

    They will be sold in selected airports across the world for the next few months, before being made available through a small number of retailers.

    The whisky has been kept in two casks in the Banffshire distillery’s warehouse for 50 years.

    Each hand-blown, numbered bottle will be decorated in Scottish silver and presented in a hand-stitched, leather-bound case.

    The bottles will be accompanied by a leather-bound book which details the history of the whisky. It will also have pages for the owner to make their own tasting notes.

    Buyers will receive a certificate signed by four of the distillery’s long-serving craftsmen.

    Peter Gordon, chairman of Glenfiddich distillery owner William Grant & Sons, said the whisky was “flawless”.

    Mr Gordon, the great-great-grandson of distillery founder William Grant, said: “We’re happy to wait as long as we need to – up to 50 years in this instance – to produce the perfect whisky.

    “The Glenfiddich 50 Year Old is the pinnacle of our whisky-making excellence and epitomises my great-great grandfather’s vision of creating the very ‘best dram in the valley’.

    “Every new year is important when it comes to making exceptional whisky – and Glenfiddich 50 Year Old is the ultimate expression of this pioneering foresight.”

    In 2006 a bottle of whisky believed to be the oldest in existence was auctioned in London.

    The Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky is said to have been bottled about 150 years ago at the Glenavon Distillery in Banffshire and was bought for £14,850.

    Article Courtesy of BBCi

  5. John M says:

    People who spend that much money on a bottle have too much money. They buy it because of the price, not because of the whisky.

    That said, someone in Calcutta probably thinks the same about me buying a bottle for €50.

    I’m sure a few rappers will buy bottles of this.

    John

  6. Sku says:

    One word: silly. Will they offer payment plans? Layaway? Can I get a 30 year mortgate on it? How long until we see the $50,000 or $100,000 bottle. Heck, why not charge a million for one. Recession reschmession says Wm Grant.

  7. Sam S. says:

    At that price, it isn’t really “whisky” at all, but a commodity bottling with a price tag on it.
    I think I’ll stick to the more affordable whiskies I enjoy.

  8. smsmmns says:

    C’mon guys, this whisky is reasonable. Did I just type that?

    What I mean is we are being silly if we truly believe that a whisky’s value is determined by its taste. We know that ain’t true, even if we want it to be. Sam S. (great name!) above is right.
    From Johnnie Walker Blue to the $27,000 Johnnie Walker 1805, rarity and exclusivity, within reasonable market threshhold, is what determines price.

    Now sure, 50yo Glenfarclas and Dalmore are only(!) $12,000 and $10,000, but this is Glenfiddich, a name that is synonymous with ‘single malt’ in 200 languages and the #1 Single Malt in the world. The price is insane, and insanely high, but it is reasonable.

    When I was a kid I once ate money so my brother wouldn’t steal it. Silly but true. I am jealous of the few who are going to get to drink money with this whisky.

  9. [...] Glenfiddich is launching a new, 50 year old expression.  It will sell for $16,000 a bottle.  More on this from Cask Strength and [...]

  10. David Stirk says:

    There are plenty of arguments for and against –

    Pros – it has already gained a lot of media exposure when it is still ridiculously hard for distillers to get any exposure at all. Here in Britain the only time we might see a piece in any mainstream media about whisky is around Burns’ Night and usually it is a horribly written piece of crap about how supermarket blends are just as good as everything else on the market (no doubt due to the level of advertising by the major supermarkets).

    Conversely, if the only exposure the whisky trade can get is when yet another over-priced, out-of-reach bottling comes onto the market, it isn’t exactly helping in attracting new drinkers to the market – especially in a recession. It reinforces the ‘expensive, drunk by old snobs’ image that the industry was supposed to be trying to move away from.

    I actually care very little about this release as a) even if I could afford it I wouldn’t buy it b) I won’t be stocking it in my shop c) I’ve drunk Glenfiddich’s older than 50 years direct from the cask (for free) and doubt very much that this bottling will be better.

    My biggest gripe is for my friend Hans-Henrik Hansen who owns the largest and most complete Glenfiddich collection in the world. He is a successful businessman but even he will wince at that kind of price tag. It would be nice if Glenfiddich donated a bottle to his collection after all he has been an amazing (and free) ambassador for them.

  11. kallaskander says:

    Hi there,

    some tasting notes

    “Stewart and his deputy Brian Kinsman chose the 50yo by marrying two casks, one each from 1955 and 1957. For a whisky that has been aged for so long, it remains remarkably light on the palate, with a vibrant aroma on the nose.

    The company said: “The taste is initially sweet with a zesty orange marmalade and vanilla toffee, which then cascades through a wonderful series of layers: aromatic herbs, floral and soft fruits, silky oak tannin and hints of gentle smoke. The finish is exceptionally long with a touch of dry oak and the merest trace of peat.”

    http://www.moodiereport.com/document.php?c_id=31&doc_id=21369

    And a big show of course.

  12. Luke says:

    I’ve had the very good fortune to sample White Bowmore @ c. €3,000.00 a bottle, which is close to perfection.

    I’ve also read good reports (thank you Serge)re Auchentoshen 57 (50 Years Old) for about the same money.

    But $16,000.00 for a Glenfiddich?!

    Some poor (rich?) fools in the Far East will probably fall for this. Even so, this still leaves a bad taste in the mouth…

  13. John Hansell says:

    I found out today that only six bottles are heading to the U.S., so I don’t think they will have a problem selling them, regarless of price.

  14. Louis says:

    Folks,

    I am not really sure why all of this hostility exists towards these hyper-expesive bottles. It is much more upsetting to me when 10 and 12 year old ‘daily drams’ now are priced in the $50-75 range, up from $30-40. Even if the 50 yo GF cost only $200, there aren’t enough bottles for everybody who reads this blog, let alone the entire SMS loving world.

    In the past, people were not nearly as upset. I can recall the 40 year old Bowmore back in 1999 that cost $7000, and no complaints. The current Black and White Bowmres seem to get a pass because the original Black Bowmore now costs that much at auction prices.

    Sure, it would be nice if the distillery would save the 50 year old for wee drams at the end of distillery visits, or pour it at Whiskyfest. But they can’t be forced to do so, and we can’t be resetful when they don’t. There is no inherent right to drink old whisky for free or almost free. Not even for people ‘who have been supporting the distillery for years’.

    Meanwhile, the 40 year old GF can be had for ‘only’ $2000. I would need to win the Mega-Millions to even pay that much, but it’s probably way better than 1/8th as good as the 50yo.

    Slainte.

    Louis

  15. AVB says:

    Was the last Glenfiddich 50 yo not perfect? It was only £5,000 if I remember correctly. This obviously has to be twice as good!

  16. Thomas says:

    Aside from this being a clever PR-stint in the same line as the Macallan’s photo series for me, I keep asking myself how they manage to get 500 bottles out of 2 casks after 50 years? Or what wonder casks have that been?

    Considering “angels share” of 50 years, the sheer volume will be pretty low, as will the %vol of alcohol – so diluting with water to get to the quantity will not help either.

    I concede this may be a nice whisky, just curious about the play with numbers…

  17. I have been lucky enough to try it from the very first bottle. David Stewart wanted to recreate a new 50yo Glenfiddich as he knows that they have wonderful old casks at the distillery.

    I have been sampling quite a lot of 40-50 and even 60yo single malts and to my mind there is no doubt that this release is a true masterpiece and the accomplishment of a 45 years carreer of a man who has sampled more than half a million whiskies in his life !

    The bottle itself is amazing. No doubt this is an expensive dram but this not any 50yo spirit, it is a very Glenfiddich one and thus unique.

  18. [...] have managed to get a very small sample of this new whisky, which I blogged about earlier here. I’m told that it’s the only review sample that has made it to the [...]

  19. Lew.bryson says:

    I remember you and me getting a cask sample from a 1959 vintage Glenfiddich 2 years ago at the distillery — it was marvelous — and you saying on the way back that they’d probably bottle it in two years as a 50 YO and sell it for $8,000 a bottle. Guess we don’t think big enough!

  20. John Hansell says:

    Lew, the cask we sampled from is different than this one. This one looks like it comes from a bourbon cask, while the one we sampled two years ago was a sherry butt. I think they have even bigger plans for that cask, it was so good. Glenfiddich 60 year old in ten years, perhaps?

  21. Tim O'Keeffe says:

    Hello John,

    I was recently given a never opened bottle (stamp still across the top of the bottle) of Glenfiddich Scotch Whisky still in the tin box. It has spent the last 25 years in a cool basement in Ohio. Is it still drinkable? Assuming it is drinkable, is it worth more than a new bottle of Glenfiddich? Thank you for your time and attention

    Cordially,

    Tim O’Keeffe

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