Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The £100,000-a-bottle Jubilee whisky: Cheers to a benchmark in craftsmanship!

Sixty years ago, as the Queen was preparing to accede to the throne, distillers on her Balmoral estate were taking care of preparations of their own.
And yesterday, as Her Majesty celebrated 60 years of her reign, the final touches were put on a whisky especially produced to mark the anniversary.
The blended malt and grain 'Diamond Jubilee' whisky, which was distilled in 1952, was finally bottled at the Royal Lochnagar distiller.
Only 60 bottles  were made at the distillery on the Balmoral Estate in Ballater, Aberdeenshire. One will be gifted to the Queen and the others will be sold around the world for £100,000 each.

The design of the bottle to mark the anniversary was revealed last June
The whisky's creation was overseen by master blender Jim Beveridge at John Walker & Sons.
He said: 'The whisky was first distilled in 1952 and there was a great deal of care and attention at that stage.
'It was then stored in our distilleries until about the beginning of last year when we started to think about what whiskies we would use in the project.
'We tested the whiskies and we felt it would be good to marry the blends in a special oak cask, and the process will be completed today when we decant the whisky into the glass.'
Mr Beveridge, who has worked at Royal Lochnagar distillery for 30 years, said it was a 'privilege to be involved in such a unique project'.
He added: 'It's a very special blend and all the craftsmen that have been involved in the creation of the project and all the things that surround the whisky are really very special as well.'
Each crystal decanter is accompanied by two hand-engraved lead crystal glasses, enclosed in a wooden cabinet made from oak and pine from the Queen's Sandringham and Balmoral estates.
All the profits fromt he sale of the remaining 59 bottles will go to the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (Qest), a charity which provides grants and training to craftspeople in the UK.
Some of the craftsmanship is the work of former Qest scholars.
Qest chairman Richard Watling said: 'The creation of this beautiful work, a monument to the skills of its craftspeople and the definitive tribute to 60 years of Her Majesty's reign, is of enormous significance to Qest.
'Someone asked how we define craft, and I said, "Look at the royal wedding and Westminster Abbey; take out all the things that would not be there were there not a craftsman to do it, like the pews, the dresses and the uniforms, and you are left with nothing".

The decanting process marked the final stage in the project which began 60 years ago
'Craft has a really important role in the culture and success of our country and someone has to make all these things that we all see and enjoy, and it's these people we aim to help.'
The charity provides around 15 scholarships each year across the UK.
The price of the whisky means, however, that few people can enjoy it.
David Gates, who grants the Royal Warrant for Johnnie Walker, said interest among buyers was high.
He said: 'Apart from people who have a few spare pennies, the kind of people who will be interested in this will want to buy a piece of history. They will be getting something completely unique and very rare.
'We are talking to people all across the world, whisky lovers and people with an affection for the Royal Family. The level of interest has been quite extraordinary.'
Smiling, he said: 'As Royal Warrant holders, we are not allowed to talk about the supply or consumption of whisky in the Royal Family. But I think you can expect that our products are well received in the household.' {Read on}