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My my my, Gordon & MacPhail have been busy! New packaging, a couple of new ranges and a lot of new news coming out. Introducing the new Gordon & Macphail Discovery Range and the new-look Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseur Range.

I was very fortunate to be sent a few drams of each to spend time with, to sample and to enjoy (thanks Gordon & MacPhail!) so let me explain the two ranges:

Gordon & MacPhail Discovery Range

Described by Gordon & MacPhail as being “utterly dependable, this flavour-led range is the perfect introduction to [their] portfolio of quality single malt Scotch whiskies”, this range is built around three flavour profiles; Smoky, Sherry and Bourbon.

Each whisky within this range will call into one of these three flavour profiles, which makes a hell of a lot of sense, and the first four whiskies in this range come from Balblair, Tormore, Miltonduff and Caol Ila so some wonderfully flavoursome drops of whisky are waiting for you and I to dram through. By the end of 2018 fourteen drams from the Gordon & Macphail Discovery Range will be released.

I got to try a few, with these two being my highlights:

Miltonduff 10 Years Old, 43% ABV, Sherry Cask Matured

This fresh, malty whisky was, as you’d expect from this oft-overlooked distillery owned by Chivas Brothers, all about dark chocolate, candied oranges, apples and sherry notes on the nose, with lovely spices, butterscotch notes along with those orange notes again with warming spices following through on the finish.

Caol Ila 13 Years Old, 43% ABV, Smoky with Peat 

I’m always a fan of Caol Ila, a solid workhorse distillery where the best visual when you visit this blend of 60’s chic and John Major Beige is looking out of the gigantic glass window in the stillroom at Jura. This dram is a a meaty, peaty, sweetie joy in a glass. Vanilla oak notes with soft orchard fruit notes that develop into gorgeous tropical notes of toasted pineapple and bananas, citrus notes and unbelievable notes of an extinguished match. Fantastic stuff.

Gordon & Macphail Connoisseur Range

Gordon & MacPhail describe this ran as “the heard of [their] portfolio – always unique, these non-chillfiltered, natural coloured, small batch expressions are genuine one-offs”, this range is has been around for fifteen years and is still going strong, especially with this new-look packaging which is great. I love the bold new look that emphasises the quality and heritage behind Gordon & MacPhail as well as emphasising the individual details and attributes of each cask strength bottling.

Like the Gordon & MacPhail Discovery Range, I was incredibly fortunate to try some gems from this range with these being my highlights:

Glen Elgin, 20 Years Old, distilled in 1997, 55.7% ABV

This was mega. An absolute treat; matured in a first filled sherry butt with only 602 bottles available, this was all about stewed winter fruits with thick, rich texture and some citrus notes of orange and lemon zest on the nose. The palate was brought some fresh minty notes with overtures of red apples and soft spices and an orangey, nutty finish.

Highland Park, 13 Years Old, distilled in 2004, 60.0% ABV

As with the Glen Elgin, this dram was matured in a first fill sherry butt and packed a punch at a whopping 60% ABV, but in truth the power of the spirit did not really hit as much as expected and no tongues were left tingling or burnt. Flavour-wise this was sweet, buttery, toffee-ee and surprisingly fresh for the age, ABV and cask maturation history. The palate, I must say, was creamy, nutty, spicy and carried a softly heather honey smokiness with a dried dark fruit character including prunes, raisons and cherries. Fantastic smoky finish with a slight liquorice note on the finish.

I am truly impressed with what Gordon & MacPhail have done with their ranges; both new and refreshed, this is a company that rarely stands still and only release superb whiskies, giving them time to be matured to perfection. I’m a big fan, have been for ages, and think I always will be.

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