Janet Sheed Roberts, the granddaughter of Glenfiddich founder William Grant, lived to the ripe old age of 110.
She died earlier this year, but on her final birthday, her family decided to honor the milestone.
From the company’s stocks, Glenfiddich Malt Master Brian Kinsman helped select a cask of Scotch whisky that had been aging since New Year’s Eve in 1955 — nearly the halfway point of Roberts’ 110 years.
“We took 15 bottles, of which, four were kept by the family,” Kinsman explains.
Eleven bottles remained — one for every decade of Roberts’ life. Over the past year, Glenfiddich has been selling those bottles at charity auctions.
One sold for $94,000, purchased by an Atlanta-based whisky aficionado.
The company says that’s a world record.
“We had a couple of drams with him afterwards,” Kinsman says. “He was a lovely man, actually, and we had a good old chat.”
The whisky was the star of the conversation, of course.
“It’s absolutely beautiful,” Kinsman says. “It’s quite different from what you might imagine. You might imagine a very old whisky would taste really woody and oakey and quite powerful.
“And it’s absolutely the opposite of that. It’s very delicate. It’s very floral and fruity. It’s quite sweet. And it’s just incredibly elegant.”
The last of the 11 bottles will be on the auction block Tuesday in Los Angeles.
Kinsman, by the way, says he doesn’t get tired of people asking whether all he does is drink all day — and he still laughs at the suggestion. On a typical day, he’ll sample between 150 and 200 whiskies.
“I must stress, the vast majority — I’m just smelling them,” he says. “Maybe tasting the odd one or two.”