Photos Courtesy of GlenfiddichThe principle that single malt whisky gets better with age is generally true, but only up to a point. Past that point, older doesn't necessarily mean better. But when a major distillery releases a malt that's been aging for several decades, you can expect two things: One is that the distillery won't release it unless it quite literally stands the test of time. The other is that, having passed said test, it will be sold at an obscenely expensive price point — and by expensive, we mean “send your kid to college” expensive, or “buy a new car” expensive.
That's certainly the case with Glenfiddich's 50-year-old expression. Each of the 50 bottles which the Highland distillery — producer of the world's top-selling single malt — released was valued at $26,000. And one of them just walked out the door of a liquor store in Canada.
According to the National Post, the incident occurred on April 7 at a shop owned (like any other alcohol retailer in the province) by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario and located in Toronto's downtown Queens Quay district. A gentleman reportedly dressed smartly in a cap and Burberry plaid shirt paid for a bottle of wine, but is thought to have made off with the 50-year-old whisky under his trench coat.
The whisky was reportedly displayed in a locked cabinet along with seven $2,800 bottles of Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac and some upscale bottles of wine. While it remains unclear how the thief (filmed by security camera) got into the cabinet undetected, he was able to walk out of the store with the 700ml bottle without incident.
Needless to say it was the single most expensive item ever stolen from an LCBO store, and while its rarity may make it difficult to sell even in Canada (where 15 bottles of the Glenfiddich 50 exist), the thief may be able to find a buyer in another market where such trade is less tightly regulated. The last incident of this kind occurred at a festival in Stockholm nearly three years ago when a 200ml bottle of 70-year-old Mortlach (released by Gordon & MacPhail and valued at over $6,000) disappeared and was never recovered.