Saturday 15 December 2018

Gordon & Macphail "Private Collection" 1974 Glenrothes and 1985 Inverleven (Tasted #414 - 415)

Hot on the heels of their recent launch of an intriguing pair of 57 year old Longmorns (tasted here), Gordon & Macphail have released another two well-aged whiskies, again under the "Private Collection" label but with a stunning new bottle design. "Private Collection" is the range reserved for exceptional and unique whiskies personally selected by members of the Urquhart family, and that clearly applies to these two whiskies - a 1974 Glenrothes, and a 1985 Inverleven.
(It's not often a bottle design comes along that you'd call "Hibiki-level stunning"...but if you ask me, that's what we have here!)

The Glenrothes, bottled from a single refill Sherry puncheon (cask #18440) yielding 276 bottles, has an ABV of 49.5% and retails for £1,250. The Inverleven, bottled from a refill bourbon barrel (cask #562) yielded a comparatively smaller 130 bottles, and was bottled at 57.4% retailing for £1,000.

G&M were kind enough to send me a sample so I could share my thoughts on these two...and the packaging of the samples was almost as impressive as the bottles themselves! 

Gordon & Macphail "Private Collection" from Inverleven Distillery 1985 (57.4% ABV, 33yo, Lowlands, Scotland, £1,000)
Colour: Yellow gold.

Nose: Spirity at first, and slightly hot, but with a fair whack of fruitiness - banana chew lollies, pineapple, and lime and rockmelon. There's some saltwater taffy, banana chew lollies, vanilla essence and baked lime pie.

Palate: Following the nose - the banana and vanilla notes carry through, followed by some tropical notes (rockmelon and lime), toasted banana chips, all underscored by a rich vanilla sweetness. A drop or two of water brings the banana chips to the fore.

Finish: Flambéd banana, toffee, warm melted caramel.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100. A highly enjoyable dram that benefits from a few drops of water.

Gordon & Macphail "Private Collection" from Glenrothes Distillery 1974 (49.5% ABV, 43yo, Speyside, Scotland, £1,250)
Colour: Brown-gold.

Nose: Dusty, mature oranges at first, but dig in and there are rich raspberry notes, stewed fruits (prunes, apricots), dark chocolate, and some Sultana Bran. After some time in the glass, subtle oak and aged old furniture (polish, leather) notes come through.

Palate: Subtle, refined, clean sherry. A dusting of cinnamon, orange cream, hazelnuts and dried apricots. Christmas cake notes are present, but in the background. Well-balanced.

Finish: Long and warming, with cherry-orange notes turning into sweet toffee at the end.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 92/100. It's always a joy when a sherried dram like this lives for 40+ years in oak and doesn't get overpowered with oak, spice or too much of any one characteristic.

A big thanks to G&M for the samples of these fantastic whiskies.


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