Golden age: Fettercairn releases rare 46 Years Old whisky

Words by
Simon Brooke

4th November 2020

With notes of plum, toast and citrus, the Scottish distillery’s aged single malt is an exceptional dram – ideal for indulging in on cold winter nights

Richard Nixon is sworn in for a second term as President of the United States, Elton John releases his most successful album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and a bridge connects Europe and Asia over the Bosphorus for the first time in history. Another, less well reported event in 1973 was the distillation of a whisky at the Fettercairn Distillery in the foothills of Scotland’s Cairngorm Mountains. 

The newly released Fettercairn 46 Years Old is naturally cherry wood in colour with a nose of over-ripe bananas, toasted bread, citrus fruit and plum, giving way to raisin, bitter chocolate, fig and spice. The palate is defined by spiced pear, coffee, caramelised orange and liquorice, leading to black cherries and treacle with a finish of plum, demerara sugar and chocolate.

Having matured in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels, this single malt went onto spend four years in 40-years-old Tawny Port Pipes. This creative maturation has given the classic tropical character a greater depth of sweetness, marrying perfectly with distinctive flavours created from the unique cooling ring.

“This is a truly scarce and special single malt, a celebration of the years of passion and commitment,” says Kirsteen Beeston, Head of International Malts at Whyte and Mackay. “We recognise that having such incredible treasures in our warehouses means we need to ensure we always respect when and how we bring these amazing aged whiskies to single malt drinkers.”

The village of Fettercairn is surrounded by some of the finest and most fertile farming land in the North East of Scotland. It was the purity of the local mountain water that attracted Sir Alexander Ramsay in 1824 to the area.

In the mid-1950s, the whisky-makers at Fettercairn began seeking ways to create a purer expression of their spirit.  They found that pouring water down the still cooled the copper, increasing condensation inside so only the lightest vapours could rise for collection. This led them to create a unique copper cooling for the neck of the stills that drenched them with crystal clear mountain water.

With only 55 bottles initially released, Fettercairn 46 Years Old is offered at 42.5% ABV. The new expression will be available from specialist retailers in the UK, Europe and Asia at an RSP of £8,500.