Elite Traveler Winter 2021

THE CRAFT IRISH WHISKEY CO, EMERALD ISLE COLLECTION Irish whiskey sits far behind Scotch in both levels of production and collectibility, but it has always remained on par for quality. Ireland also boasts both the first mention of the strong stuff in literature and the world’s oldest operational distillery, but a combination of Prohibition and politics left the industry in tatters in the early 20th century. It has never recovered. Jay Bradley founded The Craft Irish Whiskey Co in 2020 with the aim of reinstating his country’s position at the top table. One year in, he’s doing a great job. It took him just two releases to claim a significant record. The Emerald Isle Collection became the most expensive whiskey ever sold at auction when it went for $2m. There is one big caveat: The whiskey sat alongside a stunning Celtic egg and one-of-a-kind timepiece from Fabergé. Much of that value would have been for the jewels, but the whiskey is inarguably precious as well. The only way to try this liquid is to purchase one of the seven sets, making it one of the rarest in the world. The whiskey is powerful and rich, as you’d expect from a liquid aged for 30 years and finished in rare Pedro Ximenez casks. It offers notes of banana and caramel on the palate followed by tobacco and Christmas cake spices. At the time of writing, just one set is yet to be sold, but appreciation moves fast in this industry. It’ll now cost you over $3m to get it. Offers in excess of $3m, craftirishwhiskey.com

THE SINGLETON 54 One of six distilleries operating in the quaint town of Dufftown, Speyside, The Singleton shares hallowed ground with some of the biggest names in Scotch, including Glenfiddich and The Balvenie. The biggest of them all, The Macallan, is just a short drive up the road. Comparatively small, The Singleton punched above its weight in 2021 with the release of its oldest and rarest single malt, a 54 Year Old limited to just 235 bottles. The Singleton 54 was aged in a European oak cask for 52 years before a two-year finish in a strong Pedro Ximenez-seasoned sherry cask. Moving such an old liquid into such an active cask is a bold move, but the results were spectacular. The dark amber liquid offers a complex array of sweetness akin to sticky toffee pudding. A long and warming finish gives way to stronger wooded influences of oak and teak alongside delicate pepperiness. It was a personal highlight of the year, and the world’s leading spirits writer, Charlie MacLean MBE, agrees. He described it as “an astonishing dram… I have never encountered a whisky like this before.” Praise doesn’t come much higher than that. Each of the 235 bottles were handcrafted by Baccarat and are presented in beautiful leather-lined wooden cabinets. $40,100, thesingleton.com

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