It’s well known that Gordon and MacPhail has their own approach to barrels. They source their own casks, with a specialty in sherry casks from Jerez, and have them filled at the distilleries. They currently own some 35,000 casks maturing in Elgin, at Benromach and in various distilleries. G&M bottles about 1000 casks every year.
While the Reserve range is not being bottled any more, replaced by the Cask Strength range, although you do find some higher strength bottlings in the Private Collection range. The well known ‘Connoisseurs Choice’ range, as well as the “Distillery Label’ range are the company’s mainstay. You can definitely see a shift toward the super premium category with more bottlings in that category under the ‘Generations’, ‘Private Collection’ and ‘Private Collection Ultra’ (Of which I reviewed the 1953 Linkwood, 1951 Mortlach, 1952 Glenlivet and the 1957 Strathisla).
Gordon and MacPhail Reserve 1994 Craigellachie, Distilled 14.10.1994, Bottled 23.06-2009, Refill Sherry Hogshead 7325, Yield 273 Bottles (61.2% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Deep copper, thin legs with a residual ring remaining on the glass.
Nose: Dusty sherry, the alcohol is strong here and needs quite a bit of water. I let it sit covered in a glass for about 10 minutes and got a deep sherry sweetness and spices. With water it becomes a classic sherry bomb with both a dusty quality and a note of freshness. Cinnamon, pastry, intense dried fruit, specifically apricot leather, light vinegar and demerara sugar.
Palate: That old sherry feel with a lovely bitterness. Pepper and cinnamon over grapefruit rind. This dram isn’t sweet, and is pretty balanced.
Linger: Tangy on the tongue, light dryness on the inside of the cheeks, sweet notes that then give way to a wonderful lingering bitterness with light spice on the top of the gullet.
Nice sherry bomb packing a solid punch. This whisky needs a lot of water and will provide you with a long and enjoyable drink, that will engage your senses and your mind.
Joris, thank you so much for this gem!