$4000 Scotch is Coming to America, But Who Will Carry it?


Highland Park is gearing up to launch its limited edition 1968 come spring, the first in a series of 10 vintage Scotches to be released by the distillery over the next five years. This single malt, a blend of eight different 40-year-old whiskies, will set you back $3,999 a bottle: a decent chunk of change, but not unheard of among serious collectors.

Trading on the “terroir” of Orkney’s peat fields (yes, peat — like grapes — can be distinguished by terroir), the new release is lighter in color and texture than younger vintages, characterized by a golden amber hue and deep chocolate notes. For those who can’t afford the bottle, there are several options. A whiskey club, where members buy communally. Or, perhaps, a serving by the glass at the kind of establishment that sells outrageously priced doses of Scotch. A spokesperson for the company said no bars in New York had yet agreed to stock the 1968.

“There’s no way I’m carrying that. Not in this economy,” said Ethan Kelley, the beverage director at Brandy Library, which specializes in rare brown liquors, but also well-priced flights. “Even if you can afford it, [having it on the list] is a slap in the face to those who can’t.”

So, where will the dear 1968 be stocked? Kelley guessed, “in casinos,” where high-rollers are a dime a dozen.

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