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Craigellachie is Giving Away 51-Year-Old Whisky for Free

For the next year, Speyside Scotch whisky producer Craigellachie is going to be doing something that no other distillery has done before: giving away 51-year-old whisky to a select number of individuals. For free.

Yes. Free.

Starting November 26 in London, Craigellachie will be launching a pop-up bar, Bar 51 (a “bar within a bar,” as it’ll be located in designated bars around the world), that will give select guests — chosen via raffle drawing — a chance to have a dram of the coveted whisky.

According to global brand ambassador Georgie Bell, the project has been in the works for the past six months, though the tam has known about the cask that they’re using since 2014 when, she said, they put the whisky in glass to stop the maturation process.

craigellachie 51 whisky
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“We wanted to challenge the expected and actually do with Craigellachie 51 what whisky is made for: to be shared and drunk and enjoyed,” Bell said.

The whisky, which was laid down in a refill bourbon hogshead to mature in 1962, isn’t your traditional Speyside whisky, according to Bell.

“In fact, it defies this an oily, muscular character, cut with a tropical fruit note. This robustness comes from the production process — our use of old-fashioned worm tub condensers and also oil firing our barley during the malting process. In fact, we’re the only distillery left in Scotland to still practice this,” she explained.

If you’re lucky enough to taste it, you can expect ripe orchard fruits, waxed lemons, creamy vanilla, and sweet cereal flavors.

If you’re lucky enough to taste it, you can expect ripe orchard fruits, waxed lemons, creamy vanilla, and sweet cereal flavors.

Bar 51 isn’t just serving up Craigellachie 51, though. Each raffle winner will enjoy a tasting of both Craigellachie 13 and 17 first. Then, the brand’s signature cocktail, The Old Soul (a pineapple riff on an Old Fashioned), will also be served.

The question most of you are probably thinking — aside from “How do I win such a glorious opportunity?” — is why? Why would a brand that could clearly sell the whisky for thousands upon thousands of dollars choose instead to give it away for free? To Bell, the answer is simple. Because it’s too damn good not to.

“The Bar 51 pop-ups are our way of giving as many people as we can the chance to try this incredible whisky, because how often does a whisky of this age and caliber actually get tasted? Rather than putting it in a crystal decanter, or having an exorbitant price tag attached to it like other brands might, we’re instead ensuring that a whisky this good is enjoyed right away,” Bell said.

The pop-up bar will run for three nights, November 26-28, at Milroy’s of Soho, the oldest whisky bar in London. Following that time, Bar 51 will debut in London before traveling to Australia, South Africa, and the U.S throughout the next year. To enter to win, all you have to do is visit Bar 51’s website and sign up. Exactly 150 winners will be chosen at random. For the time being, only the London dates are up for raffle, so you might want to keep an eye on the site if you are not able to get to London in that time. (Though, if you are in London, you should also check out this escape room-cum-hotel.)

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Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter was the Food and Drink Editor for The Manual. Born and raised in New Jersey, he’s called the South home for…
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