This will go down as a day of great privilege for myself and GreatDrams as I was fortunate to be amongst the few people, maybe fifty or so, who became the only people in the world to try a 75 Year Old Whisky, distilled at Mortlach Distillery in 1939.
The location was The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, as whisky specialist Gordon & MacPhail raised the curtain on this incredibly rare and arguably the most exclusive whisky ever bottled.
On top of this, it was also the first time I had had a chance to meet the legend that is Charles Maclean in person and what a lovely chap he is; both interesting and charming in equal measures.
As the press release states:
Mortlach 75 Years Old by Gordon & MacPhail is the latest offering in the Generations range from the family-owned Scotch whisky firm. It was unveiled by members of the Urquhart family, together with whisky writer and connoisseur – and occasional film star – Charles MacLean. He was joined by renowned Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith.
On 17th November 1939, John Urquhart, the first generation of the family to be involved in Gordon & MacPhail, instructed the first-fillSherry cask to be filled with new-make spirit from Speyside’s Mortlach Distillery. Seventy-five years later, the cask was emptied and the precious amber liquid was carefully transferred into beautiful crystal decanters.
Stephen Rankin, great grandson of John Urquhart introduced the special whisky saying:
“We’ve been anticipating this moment for a long time. Having been nurtured and cared for by four generations of our family it gives us great pleasure to release this unique and incredibly rare single malt. Our family has been immersed in the whisky industry for more than one hundred years and we’ve built up an expertise and knowledge, handed down from generation to generation.”
Members of the third and fourth generation of the Urquhart family poured the single malt for the assembled guests before Charles MacLean invited everyone to join him in tasting the whisky, describing it as
“Smooth and highly sophisticated – elegant as a grande dame…the Ingrid Bergman of malts!
“Gordon & MacPhail is one of the few, if not the only company in the world who could have produced this rarest of whiskies. Generations of the Urquhart family have taken a long term view to maturing Scotch whisky, guided by a simple family saying – The future is shaped by what we do today. Today reveals what we did in the past. This philosophy has enabled the current generation to unveil this exquisite whisky,” he added.
Generations Mortlach 75 Years Old by Gordon & MacPhail is presented in the iconic teardrop-shaped Generations decanter. Each decanter is uniquely numbered and skilfully handcrafted with 75 multi-level “cuts”; each cut representing a year of the whisky’s maturation. The decanter sits on a white presentation plinth with two specially designed crystal glasses.
The decanter is packaged in a luxury Aniline leather travel bag and accompanied by a specially commissioned book, Seven Nights with Mortlach. Acclaimed whisky writer, Charles Maclean and international bestselling author, Alexander McCall Smith have joined forces to tell tales of Scotland, whisky and the people behind this special malt, accompanied by illustrations from up and coming Scottish artists.
Mortlach 75 Years Old by Gordon & MacPhail was matured in a first-fill Sherry butt cask. Only 100 decanters, bottled at cask strength (44.4% ABV), have been released for worldwide sale.
The RRP of Generations Mortlach 75 Years Old by Gordon & MacPhail is £20,000.
For more information visit www.gordonandmacphail.com/generations
Tasting Notes for 75 Years Old Mortlach single malt Scotch whisky
Written by: Charles MacLean
Appearance: Mid-amber, with rubious lights.
Aroma (Nat. Str.): Fresh and clean; very slight nose prickle: still lively. A highly perfumed, floral top note – lily of the valley, barber’s shop, scented hand cream, soft leather lady’s dress handbag – with a fruity complex in the middle (dried figs, pomegranate, ripe pear. Peach juice); creamy vanilla (Crème Anglaise), even vanilla fudge, and a faint trace of coffee in the background.
Aroma (@30% Vol): Water reduces the floral notes with scented oil (bath oil? Teak oil?), increases the soft leather note and dries out the aroma somewhat (warm sanded hardwood).
Taste (Nat. Str.): Sweet to start, but not as sweet as expected; considerable fresh acidity and slightly mouth drying. Bitter almonds. A most unusual trace of hemp ropes and very faded creosote, lending a slight smokiness. A medium-length finish, leaving an attractive aftertaste of sandalwood.
Taste (@30% Vol): Lightly sweet; slightly oily texture; mouth drying; then slightly bitter finish. Some spice across the tongue. Warming, even at this lower strength.
Comment: A most unusual taste – never before encountered. Smooth and highly sophisticated – elegant as a grande dame – the Ingrid Bergman of malts!
Generations Mortlach 75 Years Old by Gordon & MacPhail is beautifully presented in the iconic teardrop-shaped Generations decanter. Each of the 100 decanters released worldwide is uniquely numbered and skilfully handcrafted with 75 multi-level “cuts”; each cut representing a year of the whisky’s maturation.
The decanter nestles on an elegant white presentation plinth, delicately sculpted with ripples to resemble the movement of the water used to create this whisky in 1939. Two crystal glasses, uniquely designed for the enjoyment of this exclusive Single Malt, sit either side of the decanter.
Accompanying the presentation is a book written by acclaimed whisky writer, Charles Maclean and international bestselling author, Alexander McCall Smith. In “Seven Nights with Mortlach” the authors relate tales of Scotland, Scotch Whisky and the people behind the Single Malt. Seven beautiful poems, written by McCall Smith, accompany the narrative. The poems are accompanied by illustrations commissioned for the book by emerging Scottish based artists.
Thank you to G&M for the invitation to something so iconic and rare, it will live long in the memory.