The Glenlivet Winchester Collection: Vintage 1966, costs £20,000 a bottle

'I realise I'm holding about £1,000-worth of whisky in my glass'

In the plush back room of a luxury Mayfair hotel sits a man and a bottle.

The man is Glenlivet's master distiller Alan Winchester, a down-to-earth guy in a cardigan with the air of a friendly uncle.

The bottle has his name on it, but is an altogether grander affair; a hand-blown sculpture of a vessel with a smoky quartz Cairngorn stone in the stopper, sitting inside its own cherry wood cabinet.

The setting befits its status: it's a 50-year-old Glenlivet, and costs £20,000. Only 100 bottles of The Winchester Collection: Vintage 1966 exist.

A waitress walks over, and hands me a glass of it.

There's a single measure in the glass, and after some rough mental arithmetic I realise I'm holding about £1,000-worth of whisky in my hands.

It's dark and thick, a viscous liquid which lumbers around the glass as I swirl it.

I get luxurious rum and raisin on the nose, a deep and rich aroma which disguises the fruitiness that's to come.

First sip: There’s a gentle sweetness, coupled with the taste of candied bitter oranges.

I roll it around my mouth some more, and it's robust and flavorsome.

Another sip: This time some dried apricots come through, a few juicy raisins, and a handful of childhood sweets.

I'm struck by how incredibly smooth it is.

I swallow, and the dram blindsides me again: the fruity taste gives way to a satisfying dry finish with notes of licorice and dark treacle.

My brain crackles as my tongue processes all of the complex tastes, while trying to absorb the heritage of the bottle.

It was created by The Glenlivet master distiller Robert Arthur in 1966, a year best-known for England’s World Cup win.

Alan, the current master distiller, says he’s so proud of it that he’d love for "everyone to try it", but accepts that given its rarity and high price tag, that's not possible.

"It's one for a very special occasion, where you gather some close friends to really enjoy it," he said.

The Winchester Collection: Vintage 1966 will be available in the UK at Harrods, London.

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