A Wee Dram of The Last Drop?

Words by
Lisa Barnard

14th May 2024

The Last Drop Distillers offers a unique concept in the spirits world, sourcing tiny batches of precious spirits from around the world and curating them under its distinctive brand. Lisa Barnard attended the launch of The Last Drop’s 2024 Collection, as it celebrates its 15th anniversary. She met the company’s dynamic leader and Managing Director, Rebecca Jago and Master Blender, Colin JP Scott, who introduced the new range.

The Last Drop was created 15 years ago out of a simple and inspired idea, dreamed up by drinks industry legends Tom Jago and James Espey: seek out and buy small lots of exceptional aged spirits, bring its expertise and market these under its umbrella brand, The Last Drop, so a few people can experience these rare liquids. Each bottling therefore is finite, hence it is not limited to a single category – it spans Scotch Whisky, Cognac, Bourbon, Rum, Japanese Whisky and Irish Whiskey, and aged Port and Pineau des Charente.

The Last Drop Spirits 2024 - Rebecca Jago and Colin Scott
Rebecca Jago, Managing Director and Colin JP Scott, Master Blender of The Last Drop

As well as clever, it’s also a sustainable concept, as The Last Drop sources the equivalent of bin-ends or rare remnants, and gives them a new lease of life when they are added to the portfolio, releasing a handful of bottlings each year, all numbered and in finite quantities. It’s a three-pronged approach of sourcing, blending and spirits know-how, and marketing. As each new Collection launches, the brand continues to grow its following of spirits aficionados, who wait with bated breath for the latest drop of The Last Drop. 'When it’s gone, it’s gone.'

The Last Drop Spirits 2024
Lisa Barnard, CEO of ILN and SPHERE's Digital Editor in conversation with Colin Scott, Master Blender

Hosted in The Thames Penthouse of The Four Seasons Trinity Square in London and coinciding with the brand’s 15th anniversary, the 2024 launch presented a trio of characterful spirits, each aiming to deliver a different quality: “the unique, the experimental and the bold”. In the 2024 Collection is 40 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky from the Auchentoshan Distillery (Release No. 34), 22 Year Old Infinitum Rum Blend (Release No. 35) and 55 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky from the Tomintoul Distillery (Release No. 36).

The Last Drop Spirits 2024 - decanter
The mechanical decanter and automatic pourer showcased, named "Phoebe", designed to serve a perfect pour every time

The co-creator of The Last Drop, the late Tom Jago, was a renowned marketeer and spirits executive, famous for inventing iconic drinks Bailey’s Irish Cream and Malibu. His dynamo daughter, Rebecca Jago, took over the reins of The Last Drop alongside James Espey’s daughter Beanie in 2014.  Rebecca, Managing Director, has a creative and graphic design background, so as well as driving the business, she has been instrumental in developing the brand. The business is now owned by Sazerac, one of the world’s largest spirit companies with headquarters in New Orleans, nurture this treasure, with its unique concept, in its portfolio.

The Last Drop Spirits 2024 - tasting session
Guests were led through a tasting of each of the three precious spirits

Commenting on the 2024 Collection, Rebecca said: “It has been a fascinating mission to curate these releases; each reveals a different element of what makes our business unique: the originality of the Auchentoshan process, the fortuitous result of the ‘infinity’ rum’ and the spirit of innovation within the Tomintoul release from the distillery’s early years.”

The Last Drop 2024 Collection

Release No. 36: 55-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch is the distillery’s oldest single malt release to date. Set to age in the sixties within the walls of Speyside’s Tomintoul Distillery, the whisky was awoken from its sleeping beauty rest after 53 years. It has aged alongside the distillery itself, as Tomintoul was only 5 years old at the time the casks were originally set. You would think 53 years would be enough time to develop such complexity, however the single malts’ journey included a final ageing in Amoroso butt for a further 20 months, before its amber richness was poured into 582 bottles.

Master Blender Colin Scott describes the tasting notes as “rich and caramelised. Carried with tingly herbs, nettles and spices whilst rounding into a buttery finish reminiscent of sticky toffee pudding. Aftertastes of  sweet oak and dried fruit along with the surprising element of florals. The 55-year-old single malt leaves a lasting finish that lingers on the tastebuds after each sip.”

The Last Drop Spirits 2024 - 2024 collection
The full 15th Anniversary collection of the 22-year-old Infinitum Rum Blend and both 40-year-old and 55-year-old single malt scotch whiskies

Release No. 35: 22 Year Old Infinitum Rum Blend is a rum that encapsulates The Last Drop’s experimental nature and its in-house expertise in blending. Combining a blend of aged rums from across world, from Fiji to Venezuela and Guyana – the final blended rum is a testament of the careful process behind its creation. Each drop from the originating countries was sent to Loverpool Liverpool, where it was stored in oak rum cask to develop its sweetness and spice.

The Last Drop’s global rum ambassador, Ian Burrell, describes the rum as “oozing sweetness. Finishing with a glimpse into each of the different rums that are the sum of its parts. From Trinidadian to Jamaican amongst whispers from the familiar flavours of others. Whilst sweet and spicy on the nose and palate with hints of honeycomb and gingerbread, this rum brings a dry finish. Hot and citrusy whilst delivering hints of light oak and leather. Edged with the tang of white pepper.”

The Last Drop Spirits 2024 - 40 year old scotch
The 40-year-old Auchentoshan single malt scotch whisky, created using the unique thrice-distilling technique of Auchentoshan distillery

Release No. 34: 40 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky from the Auchentoshan Distillery is the unique blend of the three. As a single malt, the character is undoubtedly individualistic and the production techniques of the Auchentoshan Distillery developed over two centuries make it even more distinctive. It is the only  distillery in Scotland to distil its spirits three times. The most limited of the Collection, with only 74 bottles produced, this scotch Whisky celebrates the innovation of Lowland craftsmanship. The result is a luxurious liquid that is delicate, boasting more mellow qualities than differently produced single malts.

The Last Drop Spirits 2024 - tasting glasses
Tasting glasses of each of the three 2024 releases: No. 34, No. 35 and No. 36 in the 15th anniversary year

In Scott’s tasting notes, he describes No. 34: “Both refined in taste and appearance, glinting with yellow diamonds, this whisky brings a surprising sweetness of black cherries with notes of hazelnuts and toffee. Amongst the balancing aftertastes of savoury liquorice and oak.”

The trio of The Last Drop’s 2024 Collection have trickled into selected retailers, bars and restaurants. Suggested retail prices are £3,500 for the 40-Year-Old Auchentoshan Single Malt, £2,200 for the Infinitum Rum and £6,600 for the 55-Year-Old Tomintoul Scotch.

Find out more at lastdropdistillers.com