Whisky aficionados and guardians of The Glenlivet gathered at the bidding for the coveted Bottle No. 10 from the Winchester Collection Vintage 1966

The guests at the auction of Bottle No. 10 of The Glenlivet Winchester Collection Vintage 1966 witnessed history in the making as a silent battle took place among a number of bidders who were eyeing the prize. At the end of the night, the highest bidder (who preferred to remain anonymous) took home the coveted bottle for a cool RM116,000 ($36,935).

This staggering figure exceeded that of Vintage 1964 — which fetched RM96,000 at auction —making the Vintage 1966 Bottle No. 10 the most expensive whisky ever sold in Malaysia. In addition to the exquisite Bottle No. 10, the successful bidder also won a trip for two to Scotland as well as private tours and tastings at The Glenlivet distillery, where the Speyside whisky’s legacy first began.

Throughout the night, guests sipped on The Glenlivet as the silent auction progressed over gradually changing whisky offerings. The evening began, and rather aptly too, with the Founder’s Reserve — a nod to George Smith, the first licensed distiller of The Glenlivet. The zesty fruitiness of the smooth and creamy Scotch was an excellent start to the night. It was followed by The Glenlivet 12, 15 and 18 Years Old. Besides the classic favourites, the occasion also called for some exclusive selections.

As the evening proceeded, guests were treated to The Glenlivet 25 Years Old XXV and all its molten amber and spiced goodness. Notes of cinnamon were apparent on the palate, leaving an incredibly long and rich finish that made one thirst for more. The oldest in The Glenlivet’s core range, it is described as “a sublime choice to mark special occasions”, as the ongoing bidding for the rare vintage seemed to demonstrate.

The bidding intensified towards the last 10 minutes of the auction, with two candidates vying hard for the bottle of Vintage 1966. At this point, guests were served whiskies from The Glenlivet’s travel exclusive range, including the Master Distiller’s Reserve, Master Distiller’s Reserve Solera Vatted and Master Distiller’s Reserve Small Batch. Available only in travel retail, these were a real treat.

The Winchester Collection: Vintage 1966
Vintage 1966 is the second chapter (after Vintage 1964) of the compelling tale in the world’s first 50-year series. Dubbed liquid history in a glass, its very foundation can be traced to 1966 when former Master Distiller Robert Arthur distilled a run of particularly outstanding spirit. For the 50 years that followed, Master Distillers continued to monitor this exclusive whisky as it slowly aged at The Glenlivet distillery and over time, soaked up flavour and a sense of history. At the peak of its maturation, Master Distiller Alan Winchester decided to release 100 numbered bottles of this rare single malt, as a tribute to George Smith. Bottle No. 10 is housed within a regal cabinet designed and crafted by Scotland-based John Galvin, complementing all the other elements of the whisky that have been equally well thought out.

Tasting notes
Rich aromas of treacle, moist raisins and homemade apricot jam.
Palate: An abundance of soft fruits, sweet treacle and juicy orange, intermingled with cinnamon and liquorice, adding a layer of delicate spice.
Finish: Exceptionally luscious with a long smooth finish and a hint of dryness.

Elegant flow lines are sculpted into the glass to create a sense of movement of water, paying homage to The Glenlivet’s Gaelic translation of “valley of the smooth flowing one”. Each bottle that is mouth-blown by Brodie Nairn, of acclaimed luxury glass studio Glasstorm, is then hand-painted with gold branding and individually numbered to further accentuate its rarity, uniqueness and collectability.

Perched atop the bottle and crafted from a bespoke pure gold, the bottle’s stopper was designed by award-winning British silversmith Richard Fox. Each stopper is also set with a single rare and precious smokey quartz that was selected to match the dark colour of the liquid.

The Glenlivet Travel Exclusives come out to play for the night
Master Distiller’s Reserve
With hints of marzipan and hazelnut, this spirit boasts three times the character as a result of maturation in three types of oak. The cornerstone of the range showcases the perfect combination of ripe pear, gentle summery notes — from the traditional oak casks that represent the classic style of the brand; coconut; soft fudge — from the first-fill American oak that provides depth and creaminess and finally, dried fruit and spice — from the ex-sherry oak casks that bring complexity and richness.

Master Distiller’s Reserve Solera Vatted
As its name suggests, the whisky is first triple cask matured in traditional oak, American first-fill and ex-sherry casks. Afterwards, the best of these casks is transferred to the Solera Vat to develop in intensity and creaminess over the years. The outcome is the luxurious taste of honeyed sweetness and juicy pears as well as bursts of ripe orchard fruits and gentle caramel notes on the nose.

Master Distiller’s Reserve Small Batch
As with all expressions in this range, Master Distiller Alan Winchester first matures the whisky in the three different oak casks, which add layers of flavour, giving warmth and hints of spice. What sets this limited edition variety apart from its counterparts is the fact that the master distiller and his team then nose each cask individually to select only the most outstanding whisky for bottling. The end result contains notes of syrupy peaches, orange marmalade, vanilla, ginger and liquorice.

Shalini Yeap is a writer at The Edge Malaysia

This article appeared in Issue 790 (July 31) of The Edge Singapore.