New Gordon & MacPhail Mortlach 75 Years Old Blows Us Away

New Gordon & MacPhail Mortlach 75 Years Old Blows Us Away

By Nino Marchetti / September 2, 2015

Wow. Just. F’ing. Wow. That’s the first thought which came across my mind as I sat down to write this story, telling the tale of a just debuted 75 YEAR OLD SCOTCH WHISKY independent whisky bottler Gordon & MacPhail has had a long history with as a single cask draw from the famous Mortlach distillery. It has a crazy price, of course, but it also showcases the fact that, for all the hype Japanese whisky is getting right now with record auction prices, Scotch continues to remind us of what it is like to play in the big leagues of world whiskey domination.

Gordon & MacPhail took to London’s Royal Opera House to unveil its newest, and certainly one of its rarest, bottlings. The Generations Mortlach 75 Years Old heralds from the bottler’s elite level Generations collection, which up to this point consisted of three 70 year old expressions from Glentlivet and Mortlach. It is quite a staggering set I’ve linked to here for you to check out, but for this story let’s get back to the slightly older sibling.

Gordon & MacPhail Generations Mortlach 75 Years Old

The history of this release, according to press materials put out by the bottler, is rather quite fascinating. As the story is told,

On 17th November 1939, John Urquhart, the first generation of the family to be involved in Gordon & MacPhail, instructed the first-fill Sherry cask to be filled with new-make spirit from Speyside’s Mortlach Distillery. Seventy-five years later, the cask was emptied…

Stephen Rankin, great grandson of John Urquhart introduced the special whisky saying: “We’ve been anticipating this moment for a long time. Having been nurtured and cared for by four generations of our family it gives us great pleasure to release this unique and incredibly rare single malt.”

So what you have here is a single first-fill Sherry butt cask expression, bottled at 44.4% ABV and pricing £20,000 (around $30,650 USD), that’s been nurtured by multiple generations of the Urquhart family until the time seemed right to push it into retail. That’s really quite a tale within itself, don’t you think?

Gordon & MacPhail Generations Mortlach 75 Years Old

Now, when you have a super expensive and old whisky like this, of course regular old glass bottles just don’t cut it. Instead, Gordon & MacPhail pulled out all the bells and whistles for the approximately 100 teardrop-shaped decanters hosting this spirt. Each is said to be

uniquely numbered and skilfully handcrafted with 75 multi-level “cuts”; each cut representing a year of the whisky’s maturation. The decanter sits on a white presentation plinth with two specially designed crystal glasses.

The decanter is packaged in a luxury Aniline leather travel bag and accompanied by a specially commissioned book, Seven Nights with Mortlach. Acclaimed whisky writer, Charles Maclean and international bestselling author, Alexander McCall Smith have joined forces to tell tales of Scotland, whisky and the people behind this special malt, accompanied by illustrations from up and coming Scottish artists.

Official tasting notes for the Gordon & MacPhail Mortlach 75 Years Old whisky, as complied for the bottler by Maclean, are below for your consideration. I, meanwhile, will continue to sit here stunned for a bit by the sheer awe of this whisky before posting another story.

Aroma (Nat. Str.): Fresh and clean; very slight nose prickle: still lively. A highly perfumed, floral top note – lily of the valley, barber’s shop, scented hand cream, soft leather lady’s dress handbag – with a fruity complex in the middle (dried figs, pomegranate, ripe pear. Peach juice); creamy vanilla (Crème Anglaise), even vanilla fudge, and a faint trace of coffee in the background.

Aroma (@30% Vol): Water reduces the floral notes with scented oil (bath oil? Teak oil?), increases the soft leather note and dries out the aroma somewhat (warm sanded hardwood).

Taste (Nat. Str.): Sweet to start, but not as sweet as expected; considerable fresh acidity and slightly mouth drying. Bitter almonds. A most unusual trace of hemp ropes and very faded creosote, lending a slight smokiness. A medium-length finish, leaving an attractive aftertaste of sandalwood.

Taste (@30% Vol): Lightly sweet; slightly oily texture; mouth drying; then slightly bitter finish. Some spice across the tongue. Warming, even at this lower strength.