Whisky Focus - An Evening of Scottish Virtuosity With Macallan Highland Park & Bowmore

An Evening of Scottish Virtuosity 2017 by Murray Cohen

19th January 2017

This years annual Vintages/LCBO sponsored "An Evening of Scottish Virtuosity" event in Toronto, Canada saw Gordon & MacPhail present some very rare premium whiskies from their extensive range, our guest writer, Murray Cohen, a Member of the International Order of the Companions of the Quaich and Scotch Malt Whisky Forum Member was their to review the event and of course, the whiskies.

An Evening of Scottish Virtuosity - pictured Richard Urquhart, Murray Cohen and Bill Somerville.

On Monday January 16 I had the pleasure to attend "An Evening of Scottish Virtuosity", a yearly special event sponsored by Vintages/LCBO, which was once again hosted at the prestigious National Club in downtown Toronto, Bay Street, a venue couched in Canadian history. The evening comprised of both cocktails and a fine buffet featuring hip of beef and salt encrusted baked salmon before the main tasting presentations.

The spotlight of the evening shone on Gordon & MacPhail whiskies including their independent bottlings as well as an expression from their Benromach distillery. Nine single malts were presented covering the continuum from mid-range to super-premium whiskies including some true gems, remarkable for their extreme maturity and rarity, some were from silent distilleries.

The hosts for the evening were Richard Urquhart, a fourth generation family owner of G&M and Bill Somerville, a G&M Ambassador. Richard delved into the history of the family business, he told of how it started on May 24, 1895 in Elgin, Speyside as G&M Family Grocers and Whisky Blends. Richardís great-grandfather John was fourteen years old when he started working there and by 1915, he was the sole owner. Richard showed old photographs in which his great-grandfather posed with others in front of the shop always with two bicycles in front of them. The reason was that John usually lost one bike so he needed a back-up. Richardís grandfather Michael Jackson took over in 1933. G&M is still family owned and operated with a group of relatives including Richardís twin brother. Richard himself is quite a dynamic individual having sailed 40,000 square miles from South Africa to Australia.

G&Mís house blend was discontinued in 1915 and the company was and is a licensed bottler for many distilleries. There are currently 8000 casks maturing in their warehouse in Elgin. G&M has ten different brands with 350 different whisky expressions. The family bought Benromach Distillery in 1993 which at that point was just buildings and water source so they had a blind canvass to build upon with their own creativity. It is now a going concern.

One does not often encounter so very many single malts in a single evening, below are links to my reviews of all nine of the single malts presented during "An Evening of Scottish Virtuosity 2017" and as always including my comments and of course scores.

Evening of Scottish Virtuosity 2017 Whisky Reviews

The 9 whiskies tasted on the night are listed below, select a whisky tasted at an "Evening of Scottish Virtuosity 2017" at The National Club, Toronto, Ontario, Canada on January 16th, 2017:


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