What do Whisky and Vinyl have in common? Quite a lot, actually. They are both vintage products, they are both savoured by connoisseurs and they were both combined for one evening for a pairing of music on the taste buds. And if that wasn’t occasion enough, the location chosen was the legendary Abbey Road Studios, where the Beatles recorded a good 190 out of their 210 songs.
It was a cold wet winter’s night when Glenrothes, a single malt whisky from Speyside invited whisky lovers into Studio 2 of Abbey Road Studios for the first session of The Vintage Vinyl Sessions. Passing framed photographs of music history since Sir Edward Elgar, some tastefully put together tables and chairs and a vinyl of Itzhak Perlman’s haunting violin tunes welcomed the invited guests. As the evening progressed, people kept mentioned the walls of Studio 2 and how they are oozing history and musical genius into the room. It’s true, but even more oozing came from the five or so pianos dotted around the room, chipped, dirty and unremarkable-looking, that were used from everything between A Day In The Life and Lady Madonna and beyond.
As a follow-up to the occasion, The Glenrothes are soon to release a very rare, celebratory whisky, Extraordinary Cask #11483, from 1969 – a second-fill hogshead cask, filled on 31 July 1969. The cask yielded only 69 bottles at natural strength. To complement the 1969 Vintage and to demonstrate a link back to the year the whisky was created, the Beatles album, Abbey Road was chosen by The Glenrothes Brands Heritage Director, Ronnie Cox, and specialist vinyl curator – Colleen Murphy. Cox soon explained why everyone’s phone was taken, carefully bagged and labelled: it was to heighten our enjoyment for what was to come.
The idea behind these sessions is to offer a unique experience, to listen to a specially chosen album made in the same year as the Glenrothes Vintage in its entirety, one that compliments a particular Glenrothes expression and illustrates the connection between Vintage whisky and Vintage music. The evening also included tastings of The Glenrothes Vintages 1995 and 2001 as well as Vintage Reserve. Each accompanied by music on Vinyl from the same year; Single Vintage 1995 with High and Dry by Radiohead, Vintage Reserve with the Abbey Road album by The Beatles, Single Vintage 2001 with Sunrise by Pulp and finally XO1969 paired with He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother by The Hollies.
As Ronnie explained: “There is nothing like the influence of music to enhance this liquid, music is after all an incredibly powerful emotional trigger; Singles, on 45RPM, are like our Single Vintages: good enough to be released on their own. Albums on 33RPM are like our Reserves: A selection of Single Vintages that, when married together, deliver a truly rounded and complete savouring experience: greater even than the sum of their parts.” He goes on, “the 1969, extraordinary cask? Now that’s like a platinum album: that good, that rare”.
When it came to the Glenrothes 1969 Reserve, guests had the privilege of listening to the whole Abbey Road Album by the Beatles on Vinyl, savouring the whisky and philosophising about the true meaning of vintage, enjoyment, and that perfect moment where everything comes together.
The Glenrothes Single Cask 1969 #11483 is pure quality and purity, evident in the beautifully-balanced, elegant and well-mannered single malt with peerless texture, perfectly expressed by this single cask bottling. The appearance is bright and clear and coppery. On the nose it has a powerful aroma of complexity including vanilla, coconut, toasted walnuts and herbal notes. On the palate you get lots of good older wood notes, lingering lovingly with toffee, popcorn and nougat. On the finish you get a long melt in the mouth and honeycomb, superbly balanced for one so old.
The Glenrothes 1969 Extraordinary Cask #11483 will initially be available from Berry Bros. & Rudd in February 2016 and its representatives in key markets. Prices will start at £4,000 (€5,000 or $7,000) and upwards per bottle.
For more information, please visit www.theglenrothes.com