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Last Drop Distillers 1971 Blended Scotch Whisky: Review

Too much of a good thing? Not in this small package.

In 1971, a whisky was introduced to barrels that would hold it for the next 12 years. In 1983 it emerged, to be refilled into ex-Oloroso sherry butts; and after another nine years, it was refilled into American oak barrels, where it lay for another 24 years before being bottled as Last Drop Distillers 1971 Blended Scotch Whisky.

Only 1300-odd bottles of this 45-year-old drop exist, and one of them can be yours for a mere $5000. It seems to have aged very well. On the first encounter, there is a clear vanilla and fruity, orangey sweetness to it. In the glass, it reveals a more complex character, with roasted almonds joining the sweetness, along with a hint of coffee and a slight saltiness. This drop has a lovely, warm mouthfeel and good balance on the tongue, and a long finish. It was highly rated in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2017, and it has been described elsewhere as “a true relic of times past”.

Let’s not forget that 1971 was the same year a number of other famous Scots were born, including former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard and the actors Ewen McGregor and David Tennant.

It was the year of Gene Hackman in The French Connection; Sean Connery (another Scot) put on his last turn as James Bond, in Diamonds Are Forever; Clint Eastwood gave us Dirty Harry; and Roddy McDowell starred in A Clockwork Orange. It was the year Jethro Tull released Aqualung, The Rolling Stones released Sticky Fingers, and The Doors released LA Woman.

Some things, like movies and music, last well because they’re good. Sometimes good things can be expensive. But very few things are good just because they are expensive. The 10ml sample of this Last Drop Distillers’ 1971 whisky furnished to Hunter and Bligh was worth more than $70; that’s a lot to pay for not a lot to drink.

The risk in a scenario like this is that we fall into the trap of assuming it must be good, simply because it’s expensive. This whisky seems to be very good indeed, although it is hard to say conclusively from such a small tasting. A shame our budget won’t stretch to the full $5000 price tag.

Last Drop Distillers 1971 Blended Scotch Whisky

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