Gordon & MacPhail has unveiled a 67-year-old single malt, Mr George Legacy 1953 from Glen Grant Distillery. The whisky is the first edition of a single-cask release that is now set to occur annually. Just 355 bottles of the rare Scotch will be made available.
The 67-year-old whisky was laid down on instruction of Mr George Urquhart, or ‘Mr George’, as he was fondly known by those who knew him best. He was a member of the second generation of the family that owns Gordon & MacPhail and the release marks the culmination of the company’s 125th anniversary celebrations. Keen to champion Scotland’s single malts when the vast majority of stock was used for blending purposes, Mr George travelled far and wide from the 1950s, introducing a variety of whiskies to countries around Europe. Word spread, and Gordon & MacPhail’s Elgin base became a must-visit location for delegations from the US and Japan, among others, looking to strike export deals.
Distilled on Christmas Eve 1953 and spending its whole life in cask no. 4209, a first-fill Sherry butt, the first edition of the Legacy Series was bottled on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at cask strength of 59.4% ABV.
On the nose, the deep mahogany whisky has soft aromas of beeswax polish, stewed fruit and hazelnuts. The taste is characterised by a warming autumnal spice, with notes of plum, blackcurrant and treacle. This gives way to a long, lingering finish with fruit, spice and a hint of bonfire embers.
The support campaign for the release charts Mr George’s international adventures, often at the wheel of his Lancia Gamma loaded with cases of single malts from distilleries all over Scotland, matured in Gordon & MacPhail’s own casks. Over this time, he built close relationships with importers in countries such as Italy and France which would go on to become some of the world’s first markets of significant scale for single malt Scotch.
Glen Grant was specially selected as the first single malt in the Legacy series as Mr George held a particular fondness for the Speyside distillery.
Stephen Rankin, grandson of Mr George and Gordon & MacPhail’s Director of Prestige, said: “My grandfather possessed a passion for taking single malts beyond these shores. Over many decades, he built and nurtured close relationships with some of Scotland’s leading distilleries and proudly took as much as he could carry on his international trips. I have fond memories of joining him, meeting new people, and telling stories about the casks he’d chosen to bring out the best in the different types of spirit.
“He always had a soft spot for Glen Grant Distillery. The Legacy series allows us to explore some of these stories, providing some exceptional whiskies in fitting tribute to Mr George’s life’s work.”
Celebrating its 125th anniversary over the last year, Gordon & MacPhail has built up an impressive collection of whiskies from over 100 distilleries housed in its liquid library. As part of the celebration, the brand launched four whiskies: a 1972 Coleburn, a 1984 Glenury Royal, a 1979 Mosstowie from Miltonduff Distillery, and a 1975 Glencraig from Glenburgie Distillery
Stephen continued: “It’s the foundations of trust and mutual respect – for our partners and the whisky itself – that still very much guides the way we do things. Mr George was regarded as a master of Scotch whisky maturation; something that has been passed down through the generations.”
Charles Maclean, whisky expert noted: “This is a remarkable whisky. It is full of the complexity that long maturation can bring, yet it remains astonishingly vivacious. Frankly, as good as it gets!”
Gordon & MacPhail Mr George Legacy Series, 1953 from Glen Grant distillery, is priced at £5000 ($6,940 USD). For more information, head over to the official website.