LONDON — The Last Drop Distillers will introduce its first Autumn Collection of rare, aged spirits, which will consist of three very limited releases: a Bourbon distilled in 1980, a 43-year-old Jamaican Rum and a vintage Cognac from 1959.
Taking a page from parent company Sazerac’s annual Antique Collection release, the Last Drop Autumn Collection is available in very limited quantities and offers some of the rarest spirits in the world.
The 1980 Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whiskey was distilled in 1980, at what was then George T. Stagg Distillery, now known as Buffalo Trace Distillery. In 1992 Sazerac Company purchased the distillery in Frankfort, Ky., buying the whole site lock, stock, and literally barrel(s).
Quietly hiding away in one of Buffalo Trace’s warehouses, a few barrels rested until a complete inventory was taken in 1998, at which point the barrels were 18 years old. For two years, the barrels remained in place, until at 20 years old they were vatted into stainless steel, which is very common process distillers use to halt the aging effects of the barrel on the whiskey.
However, as Sazerac knows from its experience with prolonging its Sazerac 18 Year Old Rye Whiskey, the taste and characteristics will change over time. After another 20 years in stainless, Sazerac and The Last Drop believe the 40 years total maturation has produced one of the finest bourbons ever made.
The 1980 Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whiskey is release No. 19 from The Last Drop and its second bourbon release, both of which hail from Buffalo Trace Distillery. Only 240 bottles of the ultra-rare, 90-proof bourbon are available worldwide.
The 1976 “Overproof” Very Old Jamaica Rum is The Last Drop’s 20th release but its first rum and has had a voyage from west to east. Starting life in the south of the island of Jamaica, this rum journeyed from its home in the Caribbean across the Atlantic Ocean, before landing in the famed port of Liverpool, home to some of the oldest rum and tobacco warehouses in the United Kingdom.
Distilled from pure sugar cane in 1976 and put into ex-bourbon barrels to begin its long maturation, this rum spent its formative years at home in Jamaica, soaking up the tropical heat which contributes so much to the character and flavor of Caribbean rums. However, the extreme temperatures also mean that rum will mature – and evaporate – rapidly. After several years enjoying the warmth of Jamaica, this barrel, along with many others, was loaded onto a ship that set sail for the west coast of Britain – Liverpool. There, in a cool setting, with the salty tang of the Irish Sea blowing through the warehouses, the rum settled down to begin a long, unhurried maturation.
When The Last Drop team tasted this 43-year-old rum, they knew they had found the elusive liquid it had long sought, one worthy of being included in its first Autumn Collection. The proof is 135.8 and there are 183 bottles available worldwide.
The 1959 Vintage Grande Champagne Cognac is The Last Drop’s smallest release to date. Cognac has been at the heart of The Last Drop’s collection of spirits since the company’s earliest days, and this latest release is no exception to the rare spirits hunter’s reputation as one of the finest cognac purveyors in the world.
This single cask of vintage cognac matured for over 60 years in its original barrel, but the angels have been exceedingly greedy, and only enough for 21 bottles remained. The 1959 Vintage Grand Champagne Cognac is The Last Drop’s 21st release.
The Autumn Collection will be available starting in November. As with all of The Last Drop releases, each bottle comes packaged with a signature 50 ml. miniature and pocket-sized tasting book with additional pages for personal tasting notes.