As far as Scotch goes, Glenmorangie is one of the best single malt whiskies, and this week, the company upped their ante further with the release of Glenmorangie Pride 1978, an ultra rare whisky aged for 34 years, and then bottled in 2012, with only 700 decanters on the market. What’s the price, you might wonder? A steep $5,000. The Manual quizzed Dr. Bill Lumsden, the head of distilling and whisky creation at Glenmorangie about what went into creating such a rare whisky, the best way to drink it, and the best time to drink it.
How did you decide to come up with the Glenmorangie Pride 1978?
It started off as an experiment in the same way that the Pride 1981 did. I managed to get a hold of these very rare wine casks, so I laid down a whisky in it, and to be honest, I forgot about it for a few years, and then I went back to and really liked the way it was maturing, the way it was developing, and that was kind of the way I work. I don’t make things specifically to market demand. I just make products, try and make different flavors, and eventually if they’re good enough, then I’ll offer them up for bottling so that’s how this came about.
What flavor components did you put in it when you aged it?
Basically it was aged in mature standard Glenmorangie American oak barrels for 20 years, and I bought these French wine barrels from one of the most famous vineyards in France. It was one of the only three Premier Grand Cru classy Bordeaux wines. I’m not allowed to mention the name of the chateau, but it’s super well known. I had six casks only, and I left it in these casks for a full 15 years, which is very unusual, I would normally never leave it in for that length of time. I just kept pushing it and pushing it to see how far I could go. So that was kind of it. It’s an experiment, basically, which I love the result of.
How did you know when you got it right? How did you know when that was the one?
The only way you can know if the product is ready is by sampling it, so for the final four years, I was sampling it every three or four months, and then eventually I thought it was right, and I had it bottled at the end of 2012 because I didn’t want it to take on anymore. You only know by tasting, and if you take your eye off the ball, you can sometimes leave it in the wood for too long.
What’s the best way to drink it?
For this product, drink it neat, or with one or two tiny drops of water, but not on the rocks, and obviously not as a mixer.
What’s the most appropriate occasion to drink it?
I think the most appropriate occasion for something like this is when you’re with a very very special friend or partner or lover or something like that because it’s such a unique, special product. I wouldn’t like to drink that on my own. I would share it with someone.
For more information, visit glenmorangie.com.