The Last Drop 2022 collection: Time-travelling spirits

By Gabriel Power | 06 Jun 2022 | Indulge

The masters of ultra-rare and one-of-a-kind tipples are back again with three sensational offerings, including a first foray into the sumptuous world of Japanese whisky

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Holding one of The Last Drop Distiller’s bottles in your hand is a rather sobering experience, if you’ll pardon the inadvertent pun. Most of their unique spirits, sourced from one-off and ultra-rare production runs that had been consigned to history until now, have been hurtling through space on this rock since before I was born. Some are older than my father and grandfather; others predate the 20th Century entirely. Their origins are as mind-bending as they are enthralling, from world-class rums forgotten in the corner of Liverpudlian warehouses to Tawny ports that were brewed on the banks of the Douro when Luís I still reigned over Portugal.

As a result, when it comes to the unveiling of new collections by spirit brands, few can compare to the mystique achieved by those unleashed upon the world by The Last Drop Distillers; and this year’s 2022 Collection of Remarkable Spirits, as they call it, is no exception. Added to their already remarkable lineup of whiskies, rums and cognacs are three new expressions that are sure to light up the drinks cabinet of any connoisseur, and Tempus has got the inside scoop on them all.

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Release No. 25: The Last Drop 20-40 Year Old Japanese Blended Malt Whisky  

The team’s first foray into the ever-impressive world of Japanese whisky, this is a unique expression, composed of a blend of malts first distilled between 1980 and 2000 at theiconic Hanyu Distillery, north of Tokyo.

Though the distillery shut down in 2000, these malts have spent between 20 and 40 years ageing in ex-sherry casks behind closed doors, until being plucked from their slumber by The Last Drop Distillers and presented to the world as a stunning 60% ABV blended whisky, of which 177 bottles will be available worldwide.

As any classic Japanese blend should be, this expression is fresh, elegant and mature, with a gorgeous structure of floral notes and a somewhat buttery lilt on the palate. Thefinish, long and complex, is characterised by a wondrous mix of vibrant citrus and dried fruit including apricot.

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Release No. 26: The Last Drop Hors d’Age Petite Champagne Cognac 70 Years Old

While this spirit’s backstory is not quite as dramatic as The Last Drop Distillers other cognac, replete with secret hiding spaces, Nazi invasions and the French resistance, it is no less superb an example of a virtuosic Petit Chamagne cognac.

Distilled in 1950 on the banks of the Charente River, surrounded by the rubble of World War II, this expression was the creation of the eighth generation of the family which owned the estate. Most remarkable, however, is that this cognac was still in its original oak casks when The Last Drop team was first alerted to its existence. And as the brand says, The Last Drop Distiller’s “guiding philosophy that age is a quality and not a number, the true allure of this cognac lies in the fact that seven decades of judicious ageing has developed exceptional maturity, all the while preserving the freshness, vivacity and vitality the distiller sought to create back in 1950”.

Originally distilled using wood-fired alembic stills, the spirit’s Petite Champagne terroir cuts heartily through the flavour profile. On the tongue it’s sleek and refined, but features that classic candied and dried fruit epicentre so unique to cognacs of this region. It is, however, unusually fresh for a 70-year-old spirit, with a light elegance that makes it supremely accessible even to those not familiar with the drink.

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Release No. 27: The Last Drop 1977 Glenturret Single Malt Scotch Whisky 44 Years Old

Can you really go wrong with a world-class Highland single malt? With this tipple straight from the legendary Glenturret distillery - the final entry in their new collection - TheLast Drop Distillers has stumbled across a real gem.

The distillery, located in Perthshire, is (possibly) Scotland’s oldest distillery, officially established in 1775 but with illicit operations dating back as far as 1717. It has traded hands multiple times in the centuries since, but in 1977 it produced this masterpiece of Highland malt, which has made its way to The Last Drop Distillers following nearly 50 years of ageing.

This is a big, bright whisky with a rich, fruity tropical wave on the nose, offering a sweetness that is complemented by its flavour on the palate; almost impossibly smooth, with notes of nut and more dried fruit. The finish, meanwhile, scales back the woodiness, allowing the more subtle flavours to shine through. It is simply a classic of the genre.