Whisky Focus - Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glen Grant 1948 70 Year Old

Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glen Grant 1948

21st January 2019
Gordon & MacPhail release Glen Grant 1948 70 year old, the oldest expression ever released from the Speyside distillery.

Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glen Grant 1948

Elgin based and family owned and run whisky creator Gordon & MacPhail today unveiled the latest addition to its ‘Private Collection’ range, the Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 1948 70 Year Old, the oldest expression from the Speyside distillery ever bottled.

This rare Glen Grant 1948 Cask 2154 was distilled at a time when very little whisky was being distilled in Scotland due to rationing still being in place following the end of the Second World War. It was filled to cask, a first fill Sherry butt, on 11 June 1948, six years before barley rationing restrictions were lifted following the war. 70 years on, Cask 2154 has produced only 210 decanters of the rare Glen Grant whisky.

Gordon & MacPhail's ‘Private Collection’ comprises of a selection of rare single malts from celebrated, little-known, or closed distilleries personally selected by members of the Urquhart family, owners of Gordon & MacPhail and I am sure you will agree this rare Glen Grant 1948 single malt certainly appears to be worthy of its place in this line up and given Gordon & MacPhail's past record for bottling rather outstanding expressions from the Glen Grant distillery including a few Glen Grant 1948 vintages which they have bottled in the past at a younger age. More recently I recall tasting a Glen Grant 1954 first fill sherry matured whisky which was outstanding and I would be confident this new Glen Grant 1948 could be something rather special.

Members of four generations of the Urquhart family nurtured Cask 2154. John Urquhart selected the cask with his son, George, back in 1948. George oversaw storage of the cask in the fabled Warehouse No. 5 at Glen Grant Distillery. His eldest son, Ian, monitored the whisky and, in May 1968, arranged for the Sherry butt to be moved to Gordon & MacPhail’s Elgin warehouse. Ian’s nephew, Stuart, the company’s Operations Director, selected Cask 2154 for bottling on 19 October 2018.

Stephen Rankin, Gordon & MacPhail’s Director of Prestige and member of the fourth generation of the Urquhart family, reflected: "Our family has matured single malt whiskies for 123 years, each generation passing on its knowledge of how to combine spirit and oak to create exquisite whiskies. Four generations of my family have carefully nurtured Cask 2154 over its 70 years to produce this unique whisky.

"My great-grandfather, John, selected the first fill Sherry butt in 1948 to fill with new-make spirit from Glen Grant. My family has patiently watched over this cask, regularly monitoring and sampling the whisky, recognising the right moment to bottle it at its ultimate peak. This masterpiece epitomises the skill and craft involved in matching a cask to new-make spirit, as well as our dedication to creating unique and intriguing whiskies.

"Thanks to the notable influence of the Sherry butt on the spirit over the years, the elegant whisky displays flavours of dried fruit, orange zest, and cracked black pepper whilst maintaining a long, smooth charred oak finish. The remarkable 70-year-old malt also has delicate smoky notes, a reminder that, in 1948, the distillery would have been using traditional practices on their floor maltings and local peat as a fuel."

Bottled at a rather impressive cask strength of 48.6% ABV, even after 70 years in the cask maturing, it is presented in an engraved, hand-blown crystal decanter. It is framed in a striking wooden presentation case, with doors which smoothly slide open to reveal the precious contents.

The Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 1948 has a UK RRP of Ł17,500 and will be available from specialist online whisky retailers such as The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt

Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 1948 70 Year Old Review

Producer's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Initially sweet – vanilla fudge, strawberry, and raspberry nuances develop into thick apricot jam. Waxy polish aromas emerge and mix with cinnamon and candied orange peel. Gentle and lingering smoky traces complement the balanced mature oak notes. With time, a subtle, fresh mint note unfolds.

Taste: Smooth; subtle Sherry-soaked fruit flavours fuse with fresh orange zest and cardamom undertones. A slightly dried herbal element develops and transforms into mouth-warming cracked black pepper and aniseed flavours. Delicate smoky notes endure.

Finish: A smooth, long, lingering finish introduces elegant charred oak and flashes of citrus.

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