An­tiques

Col­lect­ing rare and ex­clu­sive al­co­holic drinks is a lux­u­ri­ous hobby that is only grow­ing in popularity

Cornwall Life - - CONTENTS - WORDS: Alisha Davis

Some peo­ple col­lect vinyl records, oth­ers col­lect clas­sic cars – and then there are a few dis­cern­ing col­lec­tors who pur­chase rare and one-off spir­its. Peo­ple around the world ded­i­cate their time and money in amass­ing col­lec­tions of vin­tage liquor to save or in­dulge in. Ev­ery year, pre­mium spir­its in all cat­e­gories, from whisky to gin, are re­leased and those lucky enough to no­tice add them to their col­lec­tion.

Spir­its have a very long shelf life, which is why they make a great item to col­lect; some fea­ture spe­cial pack­ag­ing and bottle de­signs, while oth­ers con­tain the very last drops of decades­old liq­uid. Salvo Russo, head of wine at the lux­ury restau­rant He­liot Steak House in the cap­i­tal, rec­om­mends buy­ing two bot­tles of a col­lectible spirit if you can. “I think it would be un­for­tu­nate to store a bottle for sev­eral years with­out know­ing what the spirit tastes like,” he says. “I also like to put a tag on the neck of the bottle and write where I got it from, which year I bought it, and what was the oc­ca­sion, just to add a lit­tle bit of his­tory to the bottle.”

For some, search­ing for rare spir­its is a ca­reer. True spirit pi­o­neers founded The Last Drop Dis­tillers, a brand that has been nick­named the world’s most ex­clu­sive spir­its com­pany. Their goal was sim­ple; to find and bottle the world’s finest, rarest and most ex­clu­sive spir­its. Since launch­ing, the com­pany has launched 16 limited re­leases of Scotch and co­gnac, once for­got­ten and un­earthed in dusty cel­lars. One such find was The Last Drop 1925 Grande Cham­pagne Co­gnac that was for­got­ten for nearly 80 years by a fam­ily – it con­tained only enough liq­uid for fewer than 200 bot­tles, mak­ing it very rare in­deed.

Kee­ble Cask Co also make it their mis­sion to source ex­cep­tional casks of Scotch whisky and ma­ture them in Scot­land’s bonded ware­houses un­til they’re ready for bot­tling. “I bought a cask for my daugh­ter when she was born,” Salvo con­tin­ues. “By the time she turns 30, she will have a cask of 30-year whisky that hope­fully will make her a very good profit.”

There are other ways to get your hands on some rare bot­tles of booze; just like fine art col­lec­tors, one place to look at are auc­tion houses. Scotch Whisky Auc­tions is the UK’s great­est on­line plat­form for the tip­ple, with monthly auc­tions where you can buy and sell whisky. There are items to suit any price point, though ex­pect some to go high. One auc­tion sold a bottle of A.H Hirsch 1974 20-year-old Finest Re­serve for £2,900.

If you are on the look­out for rare items, speak to those who work in the busi­ness who will be able to let you know about the lat­est re­leases. Ki­na­han’s Whiskey, dubbed the ‘pi­o­neer of Ir­ish whiskey’, has a spe­cial re­lease project where they an­nu­ally re­lease limited batches of a few rare casks. Each re­lease is dif­fer­ent and is selected strictly based on unique and un­con­ven­tional taste pro­files of the whiskey.

Other spir­its have their rare re­leases, and the ever-pop­u­lar gin is one of them. Hep­ple Spir­its have re­cently pro­duced a rare gin, aptly named Miriam, af­ter the ju­niper tree that has resided there for hun­dreds of years. Only 266 bot­tles priced at £125 have been re­leased and this process can’t be re­peated with the same tree, which means that Miriam is wholly unique.

To get in­volved with col­lect­ing vin­tage and rare spir­its, the best sug­ges­tion is to sign up to web­sites, news­let­ters and sub­scrip­tions. Just make sure these ex­pen­sive bot­tles take pride of place in your drinks cabi­net.

‘Spir­its have a very long shelf life, which is why they make a great item to source and col­lect’

Ki­na­han’s spe­cial re­lease project is a rare find

Reserva de la Fa­milia Ser­ralles is a blend of 20-year-old rums

Hep­ple Spir­its’ Miriam

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