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Glenlivet launches The Winchester Collection

Chivas Brothers has announced the launch of The Winchester Collection - a series of 50 year old Speyside single malt Scotch whiskies from The Glenlivet, with the first release going on sale at Harrods next month.

The Winchester Collection of 50 Year Old whiskies, the first from The Glenlivet, will be released over the next few years, starting this year with the Vintage 1964. Bottled at cask strength (42.3%ABV) in June 2014, 100 bottles of Vintage 1964, priced at US$25,000 each, will be available worldwide, with bottle No 1 going on sale at 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.

Eleven of the 100 bottles released worldwide will be available in Travel Retail and will be launched in Asia, Europe and Pacific. Two of these bottles will be strikingly revealed in Heathrow Terminal 2 and Terminal 5 on the 24th of October.

No expense or attention to craftsmanship has been spared in creating the perfect packaging for the whisky. Each element has been handcrafted by British artisans, featuring hand-blown glass and the inclusion of precious materials such as rose gold and ‘Cairngorm Stone’.

Scottish glass artists Nichola Burns and Brodie Nairn (Glasstorm) have created a decanter design inspired by The Glenlivet’s history. Completing the decanter is a jewel-like stopper by silversmith Richard Fox, whose past commissions have included Formula One and Rolls Royce. The design combines precious materials such as rose gold, and is crowned with a Cairngorm Stone, often known as ‘The Whisky Stone’ as a result of its unique colouring. The cabinet has been designed by furniture maker, John Galvin, who has applied traditional cabinet-making techniques to a contemporary design, resulting in a bespoke piece that will stand the test of time – like the liquid inside.

Captain Bill Smith-Grant – the last distilling descendent of The Glenlivet's founder, George Smith – laid this whisky down to mature in April 1964. To date, seven master distillers have overseen this whisky and the collection takes its name from the current master distiller, Alan Winchester, who comments: “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 excellence 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.”

22 September 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor