Created by George Smith in 1824, The Glenlivet is one of the world’s most famous single malts. In recent years, this Scottish heritage brand has begun to earn itself a reputation not just for its smooth and fruity flavour profile, but also for its innovative limited editions. First came The Glenlivet Cipher, in 2016, sold in a black bottle with no tasting notes, age statement or cask information, and now, launching today, we have the Winchester Collection Vintage 1967 (from £20,000).
It’s a blend of rare single malts, the youngest of which was laid down by former master distiller Robert Arthur in 1967. The current master distiller, Alan Winchester, has added his own touches, and the result is a velvety spirit with a rich, fruity nose (think apricot jam, ripe peaches and a hint of toasted almonds) and a delicious sweet finish.
Vintage 1967 is a whisky of unusually luxurious quality, and to honour the craftsmanship that has gone into its creation, The Glenlivet has, for the first time in its almost 200-year history, collaborated with a designer – Bethan Gray – on the bottle and packaging.
Gray is best known for her handcrafted furniture and homewares, along with a deep understanding of the power of pattern to tell a story. She has brought that signature to this project, translating the layers of mist that gather in the valleys of the River Spey, close to The Glenlivet distillery, into a pattern of swirling hand-drawn lines that envelop the blown-glass handpainted bottle and the maple display case.
The lines on the case are made from copper. “A very high level of skill is required to overlay 50 linear metres of copper into the curved case,” says Gray. “The technique was invented solely for this project, and took 12 months to perfect.”
It was this commitment to materials and artisanship that appealed to Gray. The flawless result will no doubt appeal to collectors of rare liquors and send them racing to pick up one of the 150 bottles now available.