I've been really tough on Gordon & MacPhail over the last year. Every time they've come by the store I've grilled them on both the lackluster quality of their newer releases and the higher prices they expect me to pay for them. However, I was looking forward to Thursday's visit because their list of recent acquisitions looked promising and, if the prices were in line, I could envision several new selections finding a place in our store. Most of the malts delivered as expected and the pricing definitely seemed better this time around. I had a few holes to fill so I'm happy to announce that G&M is now back on our shelves with the following new selections:
Arran 8 Year Old Gordon & MacPhail Single Malt Whisky $35.99 - I've always admired the fact that G&M is not afraid to bottle some of their whiskies quite young. This 8 year old Arran has much of the same lively fruit and vanilla character as the distillery bottling, and offers tremendous value for those looking for something under $40 that isn't Glen-something or other.
Longmorn 30 Year Old Gordon & MacPhail Single Malt Whisky $169.99 - Longmorn has become one of my absolute favorite distilleries over the past few years (expect a barrel or two in this year's direct cask program) and the value provided by Gordon & MacPhail for this thirty year expression is dynamite. It's everything we expect from the Speyside institution known for its incredible consistency of quality: big, rich textures, creamy vanilla with lots of oil and resin, earthy components on the mid-palate, and a chewy finish that goes on forever. Given that we only see the 16 year old stateside (which runs at a very high $100+ per bottle), I'd grab this one while it's hot.
1984 Convalmore 22 Year Old Year Old Gordon & MacPhail Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $135.99 - This whisky has been kicking around since 2007 when it was bottled, but I just got a good price for it on closeout and had to pull the trigger. I think, given the new cost and the recent interest collectors have found for slient distilleries, this should move quickly. Convalmore, located directly next door to Balvenie, has been closed since 1985 - one year after this whisky was produced. The malt itself is fruity and full of sweet grains at a drinkable 52.5%. A dash of water really opens it up and gives us a peek at what the distillery was capable of.
Old Pulteney 21 Year Old Gordon & MacPhail Single Malt Whisky $135.99 - Remember that this is not the "whisky of the year" distillery version, but rather a less-sweet and far more complex expression from refill-Bourbon casks. Almost herbal in its litheness, the absence of sherry allows the delicate fruit and subtle vanilla to shine through. The fact that G&M owns the rights to so many original vintage distillery labels makes this bottle even cooler - this was the actual OP label from the early 1900s!
1970 Macallan 41 Year Old Speymalt Gordon & MacPhail Single Malt Whisky $699.99 - Quite possibly the best Macallan I've ever tasted. The concentration of sherry is absolutely unreal. It's almost impossible to tell where the sherry ends and the whisky begins - it all gets lost in a seamless flavor of rich toffee, syrup, and caramel. I have to believe that anyone who is willing to pay the price will get exactly what they expect from this bottle. It tastes expensive, unlike so many pricier malts that get you on rarity or collectibility only.