100-year-old whisky found in laundry cupboard

Speyside Scotch producer Glenfarclas has confirmed the re-discovery of the oldest known bottle of its whisky in existence, after it was found wrapped in a tea towel at the back of a laundry cupboard.

The bottle of whisky was from 1920

The 98-year-old bottle of whisky, from 1920, was first given to the manager of the North Lanarkshire Gartloch Distillery, Stephen Dowell, upon its closure in 1920. 

It was kept by Dowell until 1947, when he passed it onto his daughter. On discovering the bottle wrapped in a tea towel at the back of a laundry cupboard 31 years later, in 1988, she passed it onto Hugh Taylor – her niece’s husband.

The historic bottle had remained in Taylor’s possession ever since, until the family contacted Glenfarclas about the bottle this year.

The bottle of ‘Glenfarclas-Glenlivet Pure Malt Whisky’ was brought back to the Speyside distillery in April, where it was inspected by John Grant, the grandson of the distillery’s founder and chairman of the board, who confirmed the belief that it is the oldest unopened bottle of Glenfarclas in existence.

“A number of features on the bottle meant he had absolutely no doubt about it’s authenticity,” a release said. “In an age when a number of bottles purportedly from that time are turning out to be counterfeit, this one is definitely the real deal.”

Visitors to the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival (3-7 May) will be able to view the bottle, which will be on display in the Glenfarclas visitor centre.

“I am delighted to bring this bottle containing whisky from the time of my grandfather back to it’s spiritual home, and as such add another chapter to our archive,” added Grant.

Glenfarclas will also release a new Festival bottling for the event – 2004 single cask selected by distillery manager Callum Fraser – with 80 bottles per day set to be made available on a first come first served basis.

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