Seeking out the finest vintages in the world, The Last Drop Distillers adds a variety of rare ports to its portfolio and celebrates a decade in business.
Clockwise from top left: Douro Valley, Portugal, where the port is produced; enjoying aged tawny ports; Cristiano van Zeller and Ben Howkins, director of The Last Drop Distillers; van Zeller Quinta Vale D. Maria vineyards; barrels, called tonels, used for storage and aging port; Douro Valley.
It began in 2008 when rare-spirit hunters James Espey and Tom Jago founded The Last Drop Distillers (lastdropdistillers.com). James and Tom—and now their daughters, Beanie Espey and Rebecca Jago, who have taken the helm as directors—have made it their mission to travel the world and seek out the most precious “last drops” of some of the oldest and finest vintage spirits in existence. The Espeys and Jagos have also helped create some of the globe’s most wellknown and loved spirits brands, most notably Johnnie Walker Blue Label and Chivas Regal 18. Rather than retire, James and Tom decided to turn their attention to one last unique brand: The Last Drop Distillers. Their goal is to find and bottle the world’s finest, rarest and most exclusive spirits. The pair journeys around the globe to discover these gems and bottle them to offer an experience that comes to most people only once in a lifetime.
With 10 releases to date, including an impressive portfolio of single malt and blended scotches as well as cognacs, the ports are the first to be released outside of those categories. The inaugural ports were specially selected for The Last Drop by Director Ben Howkins and industry legend Cristiano van Zeller of the van Zeller family—one of the oldest families in the port world— and produced in Portugal’s Douro Valley. This month, The Last Drop is launching a duo of rare vintage tawny ports (an Old Colheita 1870 and a 1970), and this May celebrates its 10th anniversary. There’s simply so much to raise a glass to!