On the Hunt for a New Whisky at Gordon & MacPhail

By Fine+Rare

Oct 18th, 2016

Following the success of projects such as the Arbikie Highland Casks, we have been on the hunt for another one-of-a-kind whisky to add to our range. This search took us, naturally, to Scotland, a country synonymous with whisky, and the home of Gordon & MacPhail, the world-leading malt whisky specialist who have been selecting and bottling Single Malt Whisky for over 120 years…

Founded in 1865 by James Gordon and John Alexander MacPhail, this legendary business has been bottling exceptional whisky for well over a century and remains family-run to this day. We were met by Stephen Rankin, UK Sales Director and the 4th generation of his family to have run Gordon & MacPhail. Stephen took us on a tour of the company’s sprawling under-bond warehouse in Elgin, home to no fewer than 7,500 casks of whisky. Such is the secrecy surrounding these rare and covetable casks that all photography is strictly prohibited inside the warehouse, which houses over a thousand single malts dating as far back as 1940.

After our tour, we proceeded to the tasting room, a remarkable space lined with vials and flasks of hundreds of different rare whiskies that resembles a science laboratory. Inside the tasting room, we had the chance to try a number of different bottled whiskies, including the 1972 Macallan, the Glen Grant 40 Year Old, the 1979 Glenesk and the 1991 from now-closed distillery Littlemill. We also had the rare chance to try some of the Single Malts still in cask, including offerings from Balblair, Glenrothes, Bladnoch and Tormore. For more information on these unique whiskies, watch this space…

After our tour of Gordon & MacPhail, we went for a visit down the road to the neighbouring Benromach. Although originally founded in 1898, Benromach had fallen into disrepair by the 1990s, at which time Gordon & MacPhail acquired the site and realised the firms’ founders’ dream of owning their own distillery.

Using the expertise earnt during decades in the whisky industry, they transformed Benromach into a fully-fledged distillery. However despite this new investment, Benromach remains a distillery with tradition at its heart: production methods have barely changed in over a century and there are no computers used at all.

We met the Benromach team and were taken on a tour of the distillery and presented  with a number of whiskies to taste. Among our favourites was the Benromach 35 year old, which was simply excellent: rich and intense with gorgeous aromas of fruit and spice, it was simply captivating. Benromach are also notable for their wine-finished whiskies, with Sassicaia and Hermitage among the finishes available.

As for the quest to find FINE+RARE’s new one-of-a-kind whisky, our journey to Speyside unearthed some serious contenders. To find out which one made the cut, watch this space…

Browse currently available Scottish whiskies here or Japanese whiskies here.

View a selection of high-scoring whiskies from Jim Murray's Whisky Bible here.

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