Scotch Esoterica: Ardbeg, Macallan, Glen Scotia, Arran, Jura...

Posted by CrushWine

A Carefully Curated Collection of Scotch
Rare bottlings from Macallan to Drumguish

A spirits enthusiast's devotion can be mercurial in nature, as anyone who's seen at least one episode of Mad Men can affirm.

With all of the spectacular and diverse ways that distilled spirits are made, aged, infused, blended and bottled, it's common to go through phases where all you want to drink is gin, or Bourbon, or Italian bitters.

I myself was drinking nothing but rye whiskey six months ago, and then the pendulum swung all the way back, and I find myself once again obsessed with Scotch.

I think Scotch whisky over all other spirits is most fascinating to the wine-drinking world, because nowhere else does the sense of terroir so dominate a spirit's character than in Scotland. From briny seaside villages to cold streams high in the hills, your first sip of any Scotch tells you exactly where it came from.

Over the past few months I've put together a collection of what I find to be really interesting bottles of Scotch from every major region (fine, I left out Lowlands, but call me if you're in the market for a stunning Ladyburn), gems and curiosities ranging from very young to very old (and in one case, a little of both) and from everyday values to the star bottles of any collection.

The full list is included below, along with a brief description of why each one deserves a place in your collection.

I'll be at the store all day today so if you have any questions about these bottles, call or email and I'll be happy to help. Please note, though, that the quantities are insanely limited and in many cases we're the only store in US offering these rare releases, and it's first-come, first-served on all of them.

To order, email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Daniel Stenson
Spirits Department
Crush Wine & Spirits

The List

Quantities are very limited. Click here to view the list online.

Ardbeg 1977 Rare Single Malt Whisky, 70cl
Two bottles available
A super-rare bottling of very old Ardbeg, aged 24yrs. This is a legendary whisky and I was stunned to find any in the U.S.

Ardbeg 1978 Rare Single Malt Whisky, 750ml
One bottle available
Part of the initial release from the Islay superstar after Glenmorangie revived the brand in 1997, this 20yr whisky was the bellwether for what has become perhaps the most vaunted name in Scotch.

Arran Founders Reserve Single Malt, 750ml
Six bottles available
Not released to the general public, this whisky was bottled in 2001 exclusively for the "founders" of Arran, the faithful investors who had purchased a bond in 1993 in hopes to one day be repaid in whisky. A very collectible bottle and great, potable piece of this up-and-coming island distillery's history.

Arran Single Malt Whisky, 750ml
One bottle available
An NAS (No Age Statement) bottling, this is a 3yr old whisky bottled in or around 1998 as part of Arran's first wide release.

Drumguish Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky, 750ml
Nine bottles available
Unlike Macallan and Ardbeg, Drumguish's reputation does not precede it. A bottle for the curious collector, because who knows when you'll have another chance to try Drumguish? No age statement, but it's safe to assume this is just above the 3yr legal minimum. Good value for an aperitif single malt.

Glen Ord 30yr, 750ml
Two bottles available
This is a tremendously well-received release from a Highlands distillery better known for its contribution to the Dewars and Johnnie Walker blends. You don't often find a malt of this age and this quality for under $200.

Glen Scotia 14yr, 750ml
One bottle available
This and the 17yr are the only Campbeltown Scotches on the list. Glen Scotia is one of three active distilleries in C-town, which was once among the most prolific whisky-producing regions in the world before a combination of economic factors and poor brand management took its toll. It's a shame too because the whiskies from the low-lying maritime region tend to be deep, full-bodied, with intriguing saline and iodine notes.

Glen Scotia 17yr, 750ml
Six bottles available
Three extra years in cask give this a spicy, creamy finish to balance the mineral notes of the 14yr.

Jura 10yr Legacy, 1L
One bottle available
A special bottle from this distillery on the Isle of Jura which, along with Talisker, Highland Park, Arran, is making a strong bid to give Islands distilleries their own designation (like an AOC of Scotch). The Jura "Legacy" bottle was originally sold only at the distillery shop.

Jura 1984 George Orwell Edition, 70cl
Two bottles available
Nineteen-year old whisky finished in sherry casks, this was bottled to commemorate Orwell's masterpiece, which he wrote while staying on the Isle of Jura.

Jura 3yr Cask Strength Bottled 1999, 70cl
One bottle available
A spectacularly aggressive bottle that subverts the fetishization of bottle age, this is a very young, highly peated whisky bottled at 60.7% abv. A splash of water subdues the peat, if only momentarily, revealing some savory grain and sweet candy notes. Only 447 bottles produced.

Jura Experimental Series, 2002/2003, 70cl
Two bottles available
A follow up to the awesome 2002 release, this bottling contains the 3yr peated Scotch vatted for one year with older whisky from the '70s, which gave all that youthful power a chance to commingle and mellow. 705 bottles produced.

Macallan 7yr Italian Tax Stamp, 70cl
One bottle available
A rare, young Macallan only bottled for the Italian market. Comes in OCB with the original Italian import label intact.

Tamdhu 12yr Cask Strength (Adelphi Distillery bottling), 750ml
Four bottles available
Tamdhu is--or, I should say, was--a respected distillery founded during the whisky boom of the 1890s. Ownership changed hands a few times during the 20th century until it ended up with the Edrington Group, who first relegated it to a blending whisky in their Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark releases, and delivered the ultimate snub by mothballing the distillery in 2010 to focus on other, better-known brands like Macallan and Highland Park. Fortunately Adelphi Distillery, an independent bottler, was on hand to rescue and bottle a few casks (at cask strength), restoring some status to the worthy distillery. 264 bottles produced.

Tamdhu Single Malt Speyside Whisky, 750ml
Four bottles available
Surprisingly high quality whisky for the "value" category, Tamdhu's standard release is (sorry again, was) bottled at around 8yrs of age.

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