Monday 25 July 2022

Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection 1949 from Milton Distillery 72 Year Old [Tasted #580]

My admiration of Gordon & MacPhail has been well documented on this blog - not just for the quality and variety of independently bottled whisky they release, but for their respect for Scotch Whisky, stemming from their 125 years as an integral part of the industry, across four generations.

Part of that respect includes ensuring the utmost historical accuracy, exemplified by their latest release, the 72 year old "Private Collection 1949 from Milton Distillery".

"Milton Distillery" you say? Confused? I was too...

Strathisla may be known as the most picturesque distillery in Scotland, but it turns out it was only officially named Strathisla in 1951 - prior to that, it was (you guessed it) Milton distillery. So whilst G&M could have called this Strathisla (known for their high-quality, well-aged malts), they chose to keep things accurate and use the name under which the whisky was distilled - Milton.

Gordon & MacPhail's relationship with Strathisla/Milton goes back more than a century, and in 1949 (19th May, to be precise), being well familiar with the distillery's liquid, they filled a first-fill Sherry puncheon (made to G&M's specifications), intended for long-term maturation.

"Long-term" was certainly what they got, as the whisky wasn't bottled until 6th January 2022, 72 years later, yielding 180 bottles at 48.6% ABV.

Gordon & MacPhail "Private Collection 1949 from Milton Distillery" 72yo (48.6% ABV, 72yo, Cask #383, One of 180 bottles, Speyside, £TBC)

Colour: Deep orange gold.

Nose: Subtle aged sherry, seville oranges, well-aged cigars, with a slight herbal grassiness. After time, some spiced butterscotch becomes noticeable.

Palate: Initial subtle oak tannins quickly give way to overripe oranges, cigar box notes and cut grass. Stewed fruits (pear and apricot predominantly) show, along with apple pie with a hint of spiced honey. 

Finish: Long (no surprises there!) with the spiced honey continuing to the end, alongside the slightest hint of smoke (more of a BBQ meat smoke).

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 93/100. Another sublime whisky from G&M which defies conventional thinking about whisky and "optimum age". Yes, these casks were built to "go the distance", but to find such nuanced drams at over 70 years old, and without any overt oak influence, continues to impress me.


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