High-end fine wines and luxury spirits retailer Le Clos debuted a worldwide exclusive whisky—The Glenlivet 74-year-old—on September 11 across its boutiques at Dubai International Airport.
The bottle is retailing at a discounted price of AED144,999 ($39,476/£31,300) for the duration of the pre-launch until September 19. From that date, other retailers will also be selling the limited-edition release for AED162,000 ($44,104/£35,000) as the regular recommended selling price.
The release by Gordon & MacPhail, said to be the oldest independent whisky bottler, is described by Le Clos as “an exceptionally rare single malt.” It was laid down from Glenlivet Distillery in a refill sherry butt on New Year’s Day 1949 and has a cask strength of 49.3%.
Just 192 bottles of the whisky will be available for sale, globally and Le Clos has the first 30 bottles on sale from today at its eight boutiques at Dubai International before it becomes available on domestic markets in roughly a week’s time on September 19. Among those locations are the Emirates first and business class lounges, as well as arrivals and departures store in terminals one and three at the world’s busiest international airport.
Le Clos—owned by Dubai-based beverage distributor Maritime & Mercantile International (a subsidiary of Emirates Group)—also holds worldwide exclusivity for The Glenlivet 74-year-old in the travel retail channel.
The single malt is one of the oldest Glenlivets released by Gordon & MacPhail, having been aged in its warehouse for over seven decades. To add an extra level of collectibility, the whisky is claimed to be the company’s last ever 1949 cask from Glenlivet Distillery.
Is it a good deal?
For comparison, another 80-year-old from The Glenlivet Distillery called Generations, also bottled by Gordon & MacPhail, went to auction at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in October 2021 and fetched 1.5 million Hong Kong dollars which is more than $190,000 in today’s money.
Thus, collectors may see value in the discounted pricing of the 74-year-old, although the older auctioned lot had the distinction of being the first bottle of 80-year-old whisky ever released. Moreover the decanter, designed by Sir David Adjaye, was numbered 1, to indicate it was the very first to hold the world’s oldest whisky. Another 249 were made.
Dubai Airports, the operator of the hub, is delighted to have this kind of global retail exclusivity and attention from the global whisky-collecting fraternity. Alison Macdonald, vice president of commercial concession management, said she was “pleased” that Le Clos had secured this early and exclusive launch.
She added that the retailer “continues to be world-leading by sourcing and offering innovative and exclusive products that truly elevate our guest experience” and further commented: “Providing access for our guests to these rare and exceptional products continues to be the strength of Le Clos… in premium travel retail.”
From a tasting perspective, though these bottles are more likely to be held by a connoisseur for a future sale, the liquid displays sweet, stewed-fruit aromas combined with cinnamon, aged leather, clementine, and beeswax polish. On the palate, the taste is one of autumnal spices and fruitcake, balanced by cracked pepper and hints of garden mint, dark treacle, and charred oak.