Tod Bradbury, Head of Rare and Collectable Whiskies at leading London wine and spirits merchant Justerini & Brooks recommends five prestige whiskies for LUX readers
For first-time drinkers: Johnnie Walker, Blue Label, Ghost & Rare, Glenury Royal Edition
Johnnie Walker is a name many are familiar with, and it’s a great starting point. This bottling is a limited-edition Blue Label featuring liquid from the now closed distillery, Glenury Royal. It’s the third in the ‘Ghost and Rare’ series, crafted using incredibly rare whiskies and won’t ever be repeated. A smooth, honeyed dram that will be sure to please.
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For whisky connoisseurs: Brora 40-Year-Old 200th Anniversary Limited Edition
Brora is one of those heralded ‘ghost’ distilleries. No longer producing whisky their stock is finite, which collectors love. In my mind, this bottling from 1978 is, to put it mildly, a magnificent whisky. Hailing from an era that has come to be known as Brora’s ‘golden age of peat,’ this is a whisky for any serious collector, and one that will never fail to impress.
Best value: Lagavulin, 12-Year-Old, Islay, 2019 Release
If you have had Lagavulin before, you will be sure to remember it. It’s a smoky, peaty, heady whisky. Usually matured for a minimum of 16 years, this bottling is a classic stripped-down ‘acoustic’ Lagavulin. At 12 years old, it is pure in style with a wonderful freshness. This is a Lagavulin purist’s dream; wonderfully simple, and all the better for it, without the usual price tags that Lagavulin can command.
To give as a gift: Johnnie Walker, Blue Label, Ghost & Rare, Port Ellen Edition
The second in the series of the ‘Ghost and Rare’ bottlings from Johnnie Walker. This one is very special. Including liquid from Port Ellen, the revered and now silent Islay distillery. It makes a very impressive gift. Port Ellen is some of the most sought-after liquid for my customers and there is a good reason for it. This is a fantastic way to enjoy a little piece of whisky history.
For special occasions: Mortlach, 26-Year-Old, Speyside, 2019 Release
Mortlach is one of those distilleries that everyone should try. Known as ‘the Beast of Dufftown,’ this Speyside dram is magnificent in every way. At 26 years-old it is an epic, perfectly matured Mortlach of exceptional quality from first-fill Pedro Ximenez/Oloroso seasoned casks. Best enjoyed as it is, or with a dash of water. It will certainly go down well at a special occasion.
Led by Tod Bradbury, Justerini & Brooks’ team of whisky experts can help source whiskies from lost or ghost distilleries as well as limited editions, rare cask finishes, and limited or single cask bottling. For more information visit: justerinis.com