Syndicate 58/6 – A Lesson In Storytelling

by Oliver Klimek on August 10, 2014

A few days ago an article on the Forbes website announced “A Rare Scottish Whiskey Discovered In 1958 Is Finally Available To Buyers”. Now this looks exclusive, doesn’t it? Credited for bringing this very special blended Scotch to the market is Mahesh Patel, founder of the exclusive Universal Whsky Experience and bottler of the high price Sirius whiskies which have been exclusively collecting dust at the Whisky Shop shelves for two years.

The story of the Syndicate 58/6 sounds a bit strange:

In 1958 a rare blend of Scotch Malt and Grain Whiskies was discovered in 10 oak casks in Leith, Edinburgh in a warehouse owned by William Muir (Bond 9) Limited (Founded in 1823). 

After some research it was discovered that the blend had been originally distilled in 1954 and that the blend recipe, created by Marshall Taplow (Established in London in 1760), dated back to the 1800s.

In 1966 a small quantity of the blend, which was now 12 Years Old, was bottled for the private use of the Directors of William Muir (Bond 9) Limited and a number of their friends.

A total of six individuals were instrumental in forming what became known as Syndicate 58/6 – hence the name.

Apparently this whisky was previously only privately enjoyed by the members of the ever-expanding “syndicate” who supposedly then decided to sell this whisky publicly. According to the website, the blend has been maintained with a solera system, so that (probably very tiny) quanities of the original whisky still are present.

Isn’t it rather funny that the “rare blend” discovered in 1958 just was a 4 year old? 10 casks of a 4 year old blended whisky in a warehouse is all you need for a mysterious legend.

The Forbes article gives a purchasing link to Patel’s www.whiskeyconcierge.com which does not work. Instead we find the whisky at Binny’s for $159.99. That Patel’s Sirus bottlings are confused with Dalmore Sirius only adds to this confusion.

What the article does not tell us is the fact that the Syndicate 58/6 whisky as a commecrial product has already been around for a few years. The website has a copyright notice from 2011, and from opencompany.co.uk we learn that Syndicate 58/6 Limited was registered in July 2012. The company status is shown as “dormant” with a net worth of £1000. Of course I cannot tell how accurate or current this information is.

Anyway, there have been at least two bottlings of Syndicate 58/6 in the past. One is currently available at Swiss retailer Globus for 59 Swiss Francs, a different looking bottle is being sold at a Dutch whisky retailer for 48.95 Euros. According to that site, the whisky was bottled by Douglas Laing and blended by Richard Paterson. Bottles occasionally show up at whisky auction websites and don’t fetch high prices.

Richard Paterson’s involvement is not a surprise because William Muir was bought by Whyte & Mackay in the 1980s. But it makes you wonder about the solera system. If this has been operational with the original blend recipe since 1958, what exactly was his influence then? Or could it be that he set up he solera later with a remainder of the original stock? 

The company website mentions an exclusice edition for Mahesh Patel and Whiskyconcierge which appears to be the one sold at Binny’s. Just why is it more than twice as expensive as the other 12 yo bottlings? Neither website nor the Binny’s listing mention an age statement. And if the Syndicate 58/6 has always been matured in a solera where everything is vatted together, what exactly is so exclusive about this bottling apart from the label?

By the way, a note on the Universal Whisky Experence’s website tells us that Mahesh Patel received his licence to import the Syndicate 58/6 already in January 2013. And here this whisky is supposed to be “produced exclusively for the Houses of Parliament in the UK”. So much about storytelling.

syndicate

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Steffen Bräuner August 10, 2014 at 2:51 pm

That was fast :-). I had to go sleep for 3 hours, whiskydepressed again, when I saw this website

Steffen

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