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Historic Whisky From The ‘40s Released By Gordon & MacPhail

Gordon & MacPhail, bottler and blender of premium whisky, is taking on something historic … releasing its last cask laid down in the 1940s from the Milton Distillery, which today is known as Strathisla.

A statement from Gordon & MacPhail notes that this is the oldest and final single malt they’ll release to carry the Milton Distillery name.

This particular whisky was matured in a cask filled for Gordon & MacPhail, which they’ve dubbed the 72-Year-Old Gordon & MacPhail 1949 from Milton Distillery. This rare spirit will see only 180 bottles available worldwide.

Gordon & MacPhail 1949 from Milton Distillery
Gordon & MacPhail 1949 from Milton Distillery (image via Gordon & MacPhail)

In the mid-1940s, the Milton site underwent several changes in ownership, which brought about the eventual name change to Strathisla in 1951. The iconic distillery, with its distinctive twin pagodas, has been in continuous production since the 1700s.

Through the many challenges of the whisky industry, depression, war, scarcity of barley, the Milton Distillery continued to operate.

The close ties the Milton Distillery shared with Gordon & MacPhail brought this historic cask to mature in a first-fill Sherry puncheon, where it would slumber and mature for 72 years. And it would finally be bottled at an eye-catching ABV of 48.6%.

Whiskey expert Gavin D Smith called the 72-year-old, £50,000-whisky “gloriously drinkable.”

In a prepared statement, he said that Gordon & MacPhail “has delved into the darkest recesses of their Elgin warehouse and come up with a unique chapter in Scotland’s liquid history. This is the first time in my career that I’ve sampled a whisky distilled at Milton Distillery – prior to it becoming known as Strathisla – which illustrates just how truly precious and important this release is.”

Ewen Mackintosh, managing director at Gordon & MacPhail, said that Milton, or Strathisla as it is known today, has small copper stills with a distinctive shape that help to give the spirit its rich, fruity and full-bodied character.

“Having carefully assessed its progress down the decades, we feel now is finally the right moment to reveal this landmark single malt to enthusiasts and collectors,” Mackintosh said. “In terms of rarity, this deserves true icon status. A Gordon & MacPhail whisky of this age bearing the Milton name has never – and will never – be seen again. Its long maturation has seen the cask give the spirit notes of toffee, spice and a hint of smoke not traditionally found in more modern Speyside releases.”

He noted that given so few releases have ever carried the Milton name … and that this bottling represents their oldest and last … they expect demand for the 180 decanters to be extremely high.

Gordon & MacPhail 1949 from Milton Distillery tasting notes from Gavin Smith:

  • Color: Dark Gold.
  • Aroma: Sherry influences with sweet vanilla pod and Seville orange. Stewed forest fruit aromas give way to festive spice and soft lemon zest.
  • Taste: Flavors of butterscotch give way to citrus and nutmeg. Baked apple notes come to the fore alongside poached pear and honeycomb.
  • Finish: A long finish with lingering apple, dark toffee, and subtle smoke.

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Gary Carter

Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether that be a novel project, a start-up, an organization, a fresh-face to the journalistic world, or even something as simple as a short story. A native Texan and a Pacific Northwest convert, he is a whiskey enthusiast who cut his teeth on it ... literally!

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