Secret Speyside Single Cask Collection Uncovering the Secret Malts of Speyside

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The Secret Speyside Single Cask Editions are a release of ten highly limited single malt Scotch whiskies, aged from 25 to 29 years old, and each drawn from individual casks from four "secret" Speyside distilleries: the vanished distillery of Caperdonich, the pioneering Longmorn distillery, the landmark Glen Keith distillery, and the remote Braes of Glenlivet distillery. These distilleries are labelled secret because the majority of their output has been reserved for blending, leaving them rarely seen by whisky connoisseurs as single malts.

Exclusive to Whisky Auctioneer, we are excited to offer the only chance to acquire this set as a single collection in our current February Auction. Generously donated by Chivas Brothers, 100% of the hammer price achieved will be donated to Craft Scotland. In this article, we explore each of these enigmatic Speyside distilleries that form the Secret Speyside Collection.

 

Although all four distilleries featured in Chivas Brothers’ Secret Speyside collection have been prominent on the independent bottling scene for decades, there has been an often-inescapable intrigue as to the profile of the casks the company opted to reserve for itself.

 

Introduced in 2019, the collection provided the first answers to this question, expanding upon the limited scope of the existing Longmorn and Glen Keith brands, while introducing a new one for Caperdonich, its first since the 1970s, and Braes of Glenlivet, its first ever.  

 

Now, this new release of single cask whiskies demonstrates for the first time what the distillers themselves believe to be the finest examples of single malt from each of these unique distilleries, and the characteristics that make them stand out from the shadows of the crowded Speyside region.  

Joe Wilson

Head Curator and Spirits Specialist

 

Longmorn

The Pioneering Distillery

Longmorn 1996 25 Year Old #22625 one of 192 bottles, Longmorn 1996 25 Year Old #22626 one of 168 bottles, Longmorn 1994 27 Year Old #45903 one of 132 bottles, Longmorn 1994 26 Year Old #157000 one of 156 bottles

 

Longmorn was established in 1894 by serial whisky entrepreneur, John Duff, who previously managed The GlenDronach and opened the Glenlossie distillery two decades earlier. Duff, a forward-thinking individual even built a railway station next to the distillery, to facilitate supplies getting to the distillery and speed up the finished product getting into the hands of whisky lovers. Longmorn is a popular Speyside distillery and has long been considered a favourite of distillers and industry experts alike.

A prized malt, it has been an essential component in many blends over the years. As such, much of its production is reserved for this purpose and it has rarely been seen as a single malt. These single cask expressions, offered directly from the distillery, present a fantastic opportunity for whisky enthusiasts and collectors to acquire what has been selected as the ultimate expressions of this hidden Speyside gem.

 

Longmorn is a sleeping giant, especially for collectors.

 

Throughout the whole of the Secret Speyside collection, the taste, the direction, everything in which [Longmorn] encapsulates about Speyside, belongs in this collection.

Stephen Notman

Founder of Whisky L! Shanghai, Beijing & Taipei 

 

Caperdonich

The Vanished Distillery

Caperdonich 1995 25 Year Old Peated #2128 one of 210 bottles, Caperdonich 1995 25 Year Old Peated #2126 one of 204 bottles

 

Caperdonich distillery was built next-door to Glen Grant in 1897, and for much of its history was known simply as Glen Grant 2. Glen Grant 2 was only open for four years after being built, and remained closed until 1965 when demand in Italy for Glen Grant single malt meant the second distillery was once again required to meet the needs of the blenders. Now legally required to have a different name, the site was christened Caperdonich. Its single malt was only briefly officially bottled while in operation, with further distillery bottlings only appearing from Pernod Ricard in recent years. Production in its later years was high and the distillery received ardent admiration from the quality of its single malt in independent bottlings.

Caperdonich distillery, which translates to the Secret Well in Gaelic, is no more and this single malt is all that remains. These bottlings offer a fascinating insight into the secrets of a Speyside distillery that otherwise could so easily have only been a footnote in the story of Glen Grant. Never to be produced again, Caperdonich’s legacy lives on in these remaining bottles.

 

These whiskies are postcards from the past... they provide a time machine for us to look back at how whisky has been made, how it has been diligently matured and how it has been expertly chosen. What we get to see is a little glimpse into the wonderful kaleidoscope of flavour that comes out of the Speyside region.

 

The peated Caperdonich expressions that have been released in the Secret Speyside Single Cask Collection show an unusual side of Speyside whisky.

Joel Harrison

Drinks Writer and Commentator

 

Braes of Glenlivet

The Remote Distillery

Braes of Glenlivet 1991 29 Year Old #95288 one of 192 bottles,  Braes of Glenlivet 1992 29 Year Old #81083 one of 192 bottles

 

Braes of Glenlivet was built in 1973 and at an altitude of 362m above sea level, it stands as one of the highest distilleries in Scotland. Pernod Ricard acquired the distillery in 2001 and it was mothballed until 2008. After a period of renovation and refurbishment the distillery reopened with significant modernity, boasting an increased capacity of 4.2million litres. Occasional distillery bottlings have appeared, but even independent bottlers have scarcely offered its single malt.

As part of the Secret Speyside single cask release, this is an unprecedented chance for whisky lovers to acquire some of the distillery’s output, revered for its light and well-balanced character due to its tall stills.

 

These are single cask expressions of some very special whiskies that we rarely get to see. The Braes of Glenlivet for instance has never really been bottled as a single malt, so you’re unlikely to taste its bright, fruity whisky outside of a blend.

 

Single casks are magical in that they’re an encapsulation of a distillery’s character in one specific moment in time. You can’t really put a price on something like that; it’s literally history in a bottle.

Becky Paskin

Founder of OurWhisky, Drinks Writer and Presenter

 

Glen Keith

The Landmark Distillery

Glen Keith 1995 26 Year Old #61931 one of 228 bottles, Glen Keith 1995 26 Year Old #61930 one of 216 bottles

 

Glen Keith was the first Speyside distillery built in the 20th century. The distillery was an experimental facility, with a range of different stills, trialling different mash and yeast types, and methods of peat smoking. The distillery closed in 1999 but was re-opened in 2013 by Chivas Brothers, who continue its experimental traditions by housing their training lab there for expert distillers such as Alan Winchester.

Despite its importance to blends, Glen Keith was always deemed worthy of bottling as a single malt, both by the distillery and by independent companies.

 

As a whisky educator I see sweetness, as a whisky connoisseur I see elegance, as a whisky collector I see rarity.

Eddie Nara

Whisky and spirits educator for Hong Kong, Macau and China

 

 

This exclusive 10-bottle collection is available in our February 2022 Auction. Please remember that 100% of the Hammer Price of this lot will be donated to to the charity, Craft Scotland to support their Craft & Cultural Conversations talk programme for 2022/23.

Craft Scotland is the national development agency supporting makers and promoting craft. They create opportunities for makers to develop their creative and business practice, and to exhibit and sell work in Scotland and beyond.