Let’s take a trip to the top shelf, shall we? In this edition of the Whiskey Write-up, we’re taking a look at two Scotch whiskies, ranging from premium to ultra-premium, and perhaps beyond.

The Last Drop 48 Year Old

The Last Drop Distillers fourth ever release is The Last Drop 48 Year Old, of which only 592 bottles were released.

“We don’t launch bottles just because they’re old or because they’re scarce,” said Beanie Espey, sales and marketing director of The Last Drop and daughter of co-founder James Espey, as she played host to a special tasting held at Dram & Grain, in the basement of Jack Rose.

That means they’re not just releasing old whisky for the sake of it, it must meet exacting quality standards. That said, the whisky is of course quite old, and it is quite scarce. The youngest whisky included in the blend was distilled in 1965, and some of the stock stretches back quite a bit farther, including from certain now-closed distilleries.

That all adds up to a suggested retail price of $3,999.99 for The Last Drop 48, bottled at 48.6% ABV. With that kind of price tag, if you’re purchasing a bottle as an investment, you’ll be pleased to see that its luxe display case also includes a mini bottle for tasting.

Tasting Notes: The nose is huge on this dram. It jumps out at you with rich vanilla and honey, peaches and a distinct buttery baked apple aroma. The palate offers a layered complexity and a velvety mouthfeel. Find more vanilla and peach, along with oaky and woody notes, and some spice. The finish brings some heat and goes for days, and leaves you with a lingering sweetness.

The Macallan Rare Cask

The Macallan Rare Cask is an exclusive to the U.S. offering. It’s made from a precisely selected range of The Macallan’s casks, representing less than 1% of their stock, and consisting of almost entirely first-fill sherry casks. This compares to their other sherry-casked whiskies which typically include roughly 80% first-fill casks.

“Really it’s about moving through all of our warehouses and all of our stocks, and basically sampling a range of casks for intensity of sherry cask flavor and character to build up the Rare Cask profile,” says brand ambassador Craig Bridger. “We’re looking for casks which are not only heavily extracted, but the marriage of which will be wonderfully well rounded.”

Bridger says The Macallan Rare Cask, 43% ABV and offered in a hefty Lalique-designed bottle, falls somewhere between The Macallan 18 and The Macallan 25 in style, and at a suggested retail price of $300, it falls between The Macallan 18 and 21 price-wise.

Of course, it’s only us Americans who are dealing with age-specific labels on The Macallan at this point. Elsewhere, you’ll find the 1824 Series — The Macallan Gold, Amber, Sienna and Ruby.

Tasting Notes: On the nose, the sherry profile dominates, with raisins, nutty aromas, plums and red fruits, and just a hint of caramel. The palate is sweet and smooth, with a thick, chewy mouthfeel, more sherry and raisins, and dark chocolate. Absolutely no hint of burn on the finish, leaving you with plum, red fruit, and a bit of oak and spice. Add water to your dram and the earthy, woody notes come out more on both the nose and palate.