The Chicago Snob

The Best Scotch You Will Never Have

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First of all, forgive me, fellow Snobs, for I have sinned.  It has been nearly a month since my last Snobbery.  I strayed from the path and nearly lost my faith in Snobbing.  However, this past weekend I experienced something that shook me to my core and renewed my faith in Snobbing and its true glory: Aberlour 30 year-old, single malt scotch, vintage 1969, bottle 68 of 600 (pictured below).

Aberlour 1.jpg

It is no secret that I am a connoisseur of single malt scotch, among other things, and have been since the tender age of 19.  My mother introduced me to single malts and taught me how to drink like a man.  Mom, I am forever grateful.

At the sophisticated age of 22, whilst drinking scotch at a dear friend's house and playing video games with another friend of ours, I came up with the idea that it would be novel for the three of us to gift each other a bottle of 30 year-old scotch for our birthdays.  We would then hold these bottles and enjoy them on our respective wedding nights.  As it was my friend, Lucien's, birthday next, my other friend, Matt, and I went in search of such a bottle.

I happened to stumble across a rather mysterious and alluring bottle in a liquor store in Prior Lake, MN, encased in a wooden box, with rather ornate markings and appeal.  The price tag, $240.  I bought the bottle and Matt and I split the cost between us and presented it to Lucien for his birthday the following July.

Aberlour 2.jpg

That was 2003.  When Lucien announced his engagement, we looked up the bottle's value online and what we found astounded us.  A similar bottle was available for over 800 Brittish Pounds, the equivalent of approximately $1,250 USD.  None of us had ever consumed anything that valuable and so we were all very eager to enjoy the fruits of our investment and patience.

February 25, 2011 (nearly eight years later) my friend, Lucien, happily married his beautiful bride, Lisa in Minneapolis.  Following the ceremony, surrounded by family and friends, Lucien happily opened the bottle that we had all been waiting to enjoy.  As he poured a round for the wedding party, he prepared a toast and we all raised our glasses to the proud newlyweds.  However, none of us were prepared for what was to follow.

As I lifted the glass to my nose, it smelled rather bright and strong of alcohol, so I gave the glass a swirl and smelled again: smooth, soft and balanced was the nose on this dram.  When it crossed my lips I couldn't believe the sensation as it was quite different from anything I had experienced prior.  It felt as if I was sipping rich, velvety silk.  The tongue was also complex as it evolved from a gentle leather to a prominent spice.  The finish was every bit as satisfying as it was clean and light.

Lu and Chau Drinking Aberlour 30.jpg

Lucien and his younger sister enjoying the Aberlour 30, Vintage 1969.

Following the wedding, and my return to the great City of Chicago, the taste and experience of this scotch stayed with me.  I wanted to see if I could find another bottle, so I went in search. It was then that I found the discrepancy between the bottle we had previously found online and the actual bottle we enjoyed.  My heart sank a little, but I continued my search.

What I found in the process was that the last recorded sale of this particular vintage of Aberlour happened November 18, 2009 at an estate auction.  There are currently no bottles readily available for sale, anywhere in the world - trust me, I looked.  This fact, coupled with the extreme satisfaction (and consequential ruin of my scotch palate) leads me to believe that the bottle we enjoyed that night, like my friend's wedding, is, in fact, priceless.

With that, I will conclude with a toast to the newlyweds, Lucien and Lisa.  May your lives together be filled with love, adoration, and respect for one another and your riches never measured by a bank account, but by the character of the people you surround yourselves with.  I love you both and am forever grateful that you shared your wedding day with me.  Congratulations!

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