A Company You’ve Never Heard of Is Bottling Some of the Oldest Whiskeys in the World
Whiskeys bearing age statements may be rarer than ever but that hasn’t stopped the Orphan Barrel Project from filling bottles with 15-, 20- and 25-year-old booze. Perhaps more interesting, however, is the fact that it doesn’t make the whiskey. It finds it.
Orphan Barrel’s whiskey comes from barrels produced at now-defunct distilleries that were lost or forgotten, with bottles rolling out under one of its many sub-brands. The whiskey was either aged in or distilled by legendary distilleries like Stitzel-Weller, Old Bernheim and George T. Stagg (pre-Buffalo Trace acquisition, at that). Its next bottle doesn’t come from anywhere nearly as famous, but it could be worth even more.
The first Scotch whisky under the brand’s umbrella, Forager’s Keep, isn’t sourced from a storied, old distillery every whiskey geek knows about. It’s 26-year-old juice from a short-lived Speyside Scotchmaker called Pittyvaich that started in 1974 and closed in 1993.
The spirit inside Forager’s Keep is the oldest stuff the young distillery ever got around to making. The distillery’s short life and the whisky’s lofty age statement mean this deadstock Scotch is imbued with sky-high secondary market price potential, even if no one really knows anything about it. It’s set to release at $400 sometime this summer.