1949: Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection 74 Year Old Glenlivet
Matured in a single refill sherry butt which was filled on New Year's Day 1949, this exquisite Glen Livet is one of the oldest ever bottled from the Speyside distillery. Bottled in March 2023, with an impressive cask strength of 49.3% abv, there are just 192 available. Boasting rich flavours of fruitcake, autumnal spices, black pepper, treacle and charred oak, the bottle is priced at £35,000.
1949 was a year of the world in flux. After the Second World War, many of the organisations that run the world today were established, and many countries were founded. For example, the fourth Geneva convention was signed, the Council of Europe met for the first time, and NATO was established. Siam was renamed Thailand and the state of Vietnam, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Peoples Republic of China were announced. The Republic of Ireland was renamed, and left the British Commonwealth. US President Harry Truman coined his new administration the 'Fair Deal'.
The world of science experienced a few firsts. On March 28th, English astronomer, Fred Hoyle, coined the term 'Big Bang.' On June 14th, Albert II, a rhesus monkey, became the first primate to enter space, on U.S. Hermes project V-2 rocket Blossom IVB, but is killed on impact at return. Radio-carbon dating was discovered by William Libby at the University of Chicago, and Gerard Kuiper discovered Nereid, a moon of Neptune.
In culture, Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific opened on Broadway in the Spring, becoming an instant musical theatre classic. In the summer, George Orwell's seminal book Nineteen Eighty-Four was published, a critique of Stalinism currently happening in the USSR. Wyle E. Coyote and Road Runner made their debut in the autumn, in Warner Bros. 'Fast and Furry-ous'.
In big news for Scotland, Ayrshire native John Boyd-Orr was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “for his lifelong effort to conquer hunger and want, thereby helping to remove a major cause of military conflict and war”.
Many titans of music and film were born this year, including Oscar-winner Meryl Streep, Bruce 'The Boss' Springsteen, leading-man Jeff Bridges and science fiction star Sigourney Weaver. In the time this whisky has come of age, they have gone on to do great things.
What a year!