Sampling the Queen’s £8,000 whisky

Little over a week ago a small innocuous box arrived which displayed no indication that something special was stowed away inside.

The 1952 cask. Picture: Gordon & MacPhail

There was no telling, until the packaging was peeled away and a purple Harris Tweed pouch emerged, that inside was a sample of a rare 60-year-old whisky.

Only 85 bottles of this Glen Grant edition have been produced to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with buyers expected to pay around £8,000 a piece.

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Bottled at the Royal Lochnagar Distillery by Gordon and Macphail on the Balmoral Estate in Ballater, one will be gifted to the Queen while the others will be sold around the world.

But crucially as with all whiskies - no matter their age declaration - it all comes to taste.

Malts of this age have had an inordinate amount of time to develop a character which is unique to the cask from which it is drawn.

Blenders will testify that when a cask of this vintage is opened there is not much spirit remaining inside as much of the liquid has evaporated.

The whisky that remains - although much depleted by the angels taking their share - is explosive and intense in character.

This Glen Grant 60 year-old was no different.

On removing the bottle cap a tidal wave of sweet coconut aroma enveloped the room.

After the initial burst of Carribean-like sweetness, notes of burned wood and mahogany emerged before the aroma moved onto essences of vanilla and ice cream.

The taste is that of a classic Highland malt but it pulls plenty of punches.

There is a citrus assault on the senses as orange and lemon notes batter the senses.

There’s a good kick of Granny Smith apples thrown in for good measure,

A syrupy texture emerges with rich caramel and burnt sugar notes also coming out.

An essence of vanilla lurks in the background.

The finish has a silky mouth-feel and is warm and reassuring. A light peachy taste is left on the palette.

This truly is a special whisky that we’re sure that the Queen herself will approve of.