Whisky creator Gordon & MacPhail releases rare Coleburn single malt in Spring Collection – Scotch Whisky News

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Whisky creator Gordon & MacPhail releases rare Coleburn single malt in Spring Collection

The 38-year-old whisky is the latest addition to the ‘Private Collection’ range

Single malt whisky creator Gordon & MacPhail has announced its Spring Collection, unveiling a series of stunning whiskies which draw upon the unrivalled depth and breadth of knowledge the company has gained from maturing spirit from over 100 Scottish distilleries.

One of the highlights of the Spring Collection is the Gordon & MacPhail 1981 from Coleburn Distillery which is the latest edition to the ‘Private Collection’ range.  This exceptional whisky has been maturing in the company’s specially selected cask at its warehouse in Elgin for 38 years. Spirit from Coleburn Distillery – mothballed in 1985 – was traditionally used in blending but Gordon & MacPhail carefully matched the spirit with a refill Sherry hogshead  to create this extraordinary and very rare single malt.

Hidden from sight behind a rich green landscape, Coleburn Distillery was founded in 1897 in Longmorn, five miles south of Elgin in Speyside. Designed by renowned architect Charles Doig, who also designed the Gordon & MacPhail retail shop in Elgin, the distillery was one of many that closed its doors during a challenging period for the whisky industry in the 1980s.

Laid down on 11th March 1981 to mature in cask 476, Gordon & MacPhail 1981 from Coleburn Distillery was bottled at 55.9% ABV on 14th March 2019. With a distinct mahogany hue, the new release has rich flavours of Sherry-soaked fruit, liquorice, and dark chocolate, and a long finish brimming with toffee notes and a hint of smoke.

Only 101 bottles will be available for purchase worldwide, representative of the unique nature of all ‘Private Collection’ releases.

Established in 1895, Gordon & MacPhail has a worldwide reputation for creating exquisitely rare single malts that have featured spirit from over 100 distilleries across Scotland. Due to the foresight of four generations of the Urquhart family, owners of Gordon & MacPhail, the company is currently maturing spirit from 26 mothballed or closed distilleries, including Coleburn Distillery, in its fabled warehouse.

Stephen Rankin, Gordon & MacPhail’s Director of Prestige and member of the fourth generation of the Urquhart family, said: “Our mantra has always been to ‘do right by the whisky’; recognising when it has reached its ultimate peak and then bottling it regardless of commercial pressures or notable birthdays. Brought to you as a rare single malt, this 38-year-old release exhibits the true spirit of the Coleburn Distillery. My grandfather, George Urquhart, was always keen to champion the quality of the new-make from previously unheralded distilleries and this remarkable whisky perfectly exemplifies his vision. It’s one to celebrate and savour.”

Gordon & MacPhail 1981 from Coleburn Distillery will be available for purchase worldwide from selected specialist retailers* (UK RRP £1,250**).

Two more notable whiskies from the 2019 Spring Collection include Connoisseurs Choice 1998 from Glenburgie (UK RRP £136). With just 245 bottles available, this whisky offers a unique opportunity to own a 20-year-old whisky which is rarely bottled as a single malt. Connoissuers Choice 2006 from Ledaig Distillery offers a striking whisky which has been carefully crafted using peated new-make spirit, expertly paired with a specially selected first-fill Sherry hogshead (UK RRP £73).

For more information on the Spring Collection, please visit***



* Gordon & MacPhail 1981 from Coleburn Distillery won’t be available for purchase in the US.

**Prices in international markets may vary due to local taxes and import duties.

***When it goes live.

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Tasting Notes

Gordon & MacPhail 1981 from Coleburn Distillery (Private Collection)

55.9% ABV, outturn of 101 bottles, UK RRP of £1,250.

Matured in cask no. 476, a first fill Sherry hogshead.

Colour: Mahogany.

Aroma: Sherry-soaked fruit aromas with a touch of beeswax polish. Juicy black cherries drizzled with rich caramel leads into fresh coffee with a subtle smokiness.

Taste: Dark chocolate, coffee, and ripe plums. Dried fruits and sherry-soaked cherries, reminiscent of rich fruitcake. Subtle flavours of oak and liquorice emerge with a slight nuttiness.

Finish: Long; rich fruitcake, coffee, and toffee notes evolve into leather with a hint of smoke.

Gordon & MacPhail Whiskies

Established in 1895, family-owned Gordon & MacPhail is curator of some of the world’s finest and rarest single malt Scotch whiskies from over 100 distilleries. Four generations of the Urquhart family have continued to pursue the perfect partnership between spirit and cask.

Since its foundation, Gordon & MacPhail has carefully matched spirit to the highest quality oak casks which are sent to distilleries throughout Scotland, filled with new-make spirit, and matured either at the distillery of origin or in the firm’s own bonded warehouse in Elgin.

It is this simple but endlessly complex pairing that creates an intriguing and unique portfolio of expressions – single malts that Scotch whisky lovers will not find anywhere else.

In April 2018, the company unveiled its streamlined portfolio:

  • ‘Discovery’ – Utterly dependable, this flavour-led range is the perfect introduction to our portfolio of quality single malt Scotch whiskies.
  • ‘Distillery Labels’ – A range celebrating our long-standing relationships with Scotland’s distilleries.
  • ‘Connoisseurs Choice’ – The heart of our portfolio – always unique, these non-chill-filtered, natural coloured, small batch expressions are genuine one-offs.
  • ‘Private Collection’ – Greatly-aged single malts from celebrated, little-known, or closed distilleries specially selected by members of the Urquhart family.
  • ‘Generations’ – A prestigious collection of old, rare, and exclusive masterpieces.

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