The Gordon & Macphail Speyside Collection was one of the most luxurious releases of 2016, comprising of six super-aged bottles of Speyside single malt, and limited to an initial 75 sets, priced at £10,500.
Now if the news, and the gorgeous bottle line up photo was not enough, I was incredibly surprised, excited and grateful that Gordon & Macphail also sent me a set of samples, 50ml of each whisky in the Gordon & Macphail Speyside Collection to enjoy and experience, and I could not wait to dive in.
The extraordinarily aged single malts in the Gordon & Macphail Speyside Collection, totalling 329 years of matured whisky are:
- Gordon & MacPhail Smith’s Glenlivet 1948
- Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 1949
- Gordon & MacPhail Strathisla 1953
- Gordon & MacPhail Mortlach 1954
- Gordon & MacPhail Longmorn 1967 and
- Gordon & MacPhail Linkwood 1972
WOW! What a treat to be able to sample these vintage whiskies.
I literally had no idea where to start, so I went in year of distillation order, and why the hell not. All are bottled at 43% abv except the Glen Grant expression, clocking in at 40% abv.
Gordon & MacPhail Smith’s Glenlivet 1948
Distilled in the same year that London hosted the Olympics, HRH Prince Charles was born, the first Polaroid was sold and, most importantly, my mother was born, this whisky flowed from the stills on the 11th February and eventually bottled from cask #545 on the 26th July 2010 at a whopping 62 years old.
GD: Soft, old school beautiful nose that you can probably spend hours with (I did at least) and notes of fleshy, overripe fruits and candies fruits. Ah this is stunning; whisky perfection.
Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 1949
Distilled in the same year that NATO was established, 1984 was published by George Orwell, the British government recognised Republic of Ireland and the first snowfall ever recorded in LA perplexes locals, this whisky flowed from the stills of Glen Grant and was eventually bottled at an incredible 64 years old on the 6th June 2014.
GD: Sweet, sour, soft, sultry and sumptuous, this is a fantastic Glen Grant whisky, hint of soft smoke and deep red fruits and Christmas spices.
In a momentous year that saw Queen Elizabeth II crowned, Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale published and when Stalin died, this whisky was filled into cask #1614 on the 19th December and bottled on the 20th November 2012 aged 58.
GD: I got notes of toffee, very earthy, raw horseradish and wisps of smoke. Deep but delicate, juicy fruity notes weaved with honeycomb. Lovely stuff. One of the best Strathisla expressions if had the pleasure of sampling, really impressively balanced and an exemplar of this Distillery’s wares. Ah man I’m going to miss this dram.
The year was marked by Bannister’s four minute mile, the end of food rationing in Great Britain and the launch of the Boeing 707, this delightful whisky was filled into first fill Sherry butt #494 on the 27th January, bottled at 58 years old on the 20th November 2012.
GD: Expect notes of stewed fruits, strawberries, poached pears and a perfectly balanced sweetness oozing sherry warmth. Subtle oakiness definitely present with raisins. What a whisky. This was the first whisky I had of 2017 and is already a contender for my whisky of the year although we shall see in 11.5 months time if that stands true.
In the year of the first Super Bowl, the world’s first heart transplant and the first ATM, this spirit was filled into a first fill Sherry butt on 31st October 1967, later to be bottled at 47 years old on the 21st September 2015.
GD: Vibrant, fresh, earthy, quite sweet and a gorgeous smoky undertone reminiscent of the fantastic Longmorn distillery character we all know and love. Sherbert notes, candies apples, toffee. Outstanding.
The final bottle in the collection was distilled in the same year the first scientific calculator was introduced, Evil Knievel book 93 bones after successfully clearing 35 cars and PONG marked the launch of the first generation of video games from Atari. The spirit was filled on the 17th November 1972, bottled at the ripe age of 40 on the 3rd July 2013.
GD: I loved this whisky; potent, fresh apples, multi-layered with wine notes developing with time in the glass and exposed to oxygen, feels more youthful than its four decades of maturation would have you expect, really intriguing old dram.
Overall I could not be more impressed with the whiskies presented in the Gordon & Macphail Speyside Collection, and if I had a spare £10,500 lying around I would definitely buy, I actually think, given recent prices in other areas of the industry, that this set of six actually represents relative value for money; 329 years of matured whisky, six bottles, lots of stories and exclusivity… you can pay a lot more for a lot less elsewhere. Bravo G&M!