Whisky Advocate

Review: Gordon & MacPhail Strathisla 1963 Vintage

January 30th, 2009

Considering that I recently rated a whiskey on this blog a 69, I thought I would end the work week on a happier note. This whisky was poured at our charity table at WhiskyFest New York last November and was very popular.

Gordon & MacPhail (distilled at Strathisla), 1963, 40%, $275
Some of these old G&M Strathisla whiskies are quite lovely, and this is one of them. It’s gently sherried, soothingly oily in texture, and complex, with notes of maple syrup, candied fruit, plum, roasted nuts, polished leather, and old oak, along with some damp earth, coffee bean, cinnamon, mint, and subtle, teasing kiln smoke. It’s soft, rounded and still holds up nicely for a 44 years old whisky. If you like old, sherried Speysiders that aren’t overly oaked or sherried, you’ll like this one. If only it was bottled at 43% or 46% (or at natural cask strength of it was less than 43%). It would give the whisky a little more backbone, and I might have bumped my rating up to the mid-90s.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 92

8 Responses to “Review: Gordon & MacPhail Strathisla 1963 Vintage”

  1. Shaun Farrier says:


    Sounds like a great dram, but it’s unfortunately beyond my means. Can you recommend a reasonably priced indie Strathisla bottlings?

    The G&M products seem to be of high quality overall, and very consistent. We need someone in Arizona to start carrying the line.

  2. John Hansell says:

    Shaun, there are younger G&M Strathisla whiskies and they are generally very nice too!

  3. Todd says:

    These old Strathislas can be quite lovely. One of those remarkable relatively light whiskies that age extraordinarily well in the right cask.

    Shaun, a good 30+ year old Strathisla is well worth saving up for, I would recommend forgoing the younger versions and buying one of the high quality older ones like this one. Some of the Duncan Taylor 60s Strathislas are worth seeking out, I think John has rated some of these highly as well.

    When was this released John? Is it a 45 year old?

  4. John Hansell says:

    Todd, it’s a 44 year old, bottled in 2007. I don’t think it got out into circulation here in the U.S. until last year, so there should be bottles still floating around.

  5. Louis says:


    There was a Mackillops Choice Strathisla available a few years ago, age in the 30’s, that wasn’t much over $100. You might find a bottle somewhere, as there was no internet buzz about it.



  6. Rich says:

    i have an unopened 1960 Strathisla 44 (G&M) in my cabinet; this bottle must be the younger sibling, at least in terms of distillation year. a friend also bought the 1960 at the same time, and we’ve tasted his; it’s a very elegant and mature dram, very similar profile to what you describe above.

    a few years ago, i bought the 1967 Strathisla 37 year (G&M), which is still my favorite Strathisla bottling ever. it’s still available, for example from Binny’s for $160 or so. and if you look around, especially overseas, you can get the solid, eminently drinkable Strathisla 25 (G&M) for $72 + shipping, an amazing price for a quality 25 year old, if you ask me.

    i definitely recommend a middle-age to elder sherry-casked Strathisla for any cabinet, and there are plenty of options and some pretty good deals if you look around.

  7. […] it was bottled in 2009 – making this a 47 year old whisky.  But I can only find 2003 and 2007 bottlings of this vintage online – even on the Gordon & MacPhail […]

  8. Scotswahe says:

    Bought a bottle recently and opened it last week! It’s truly one of the best I have tasted for a long time!

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