Whisky Advocate

Gordon & MacPhail releases another 70 year old whisky–and more!

March 8th, 2011

I don’t usually post up press releases. But it’s pretty rare to see the release of a 70 year old whisky. Gordon & MacPhail has done it again, as part of their “Generations” label. The first time it was Mortlach. This time, it’s Glenlivet. Details below in the release.


Exclusive, 70 Year Old Malt and the ‘Lifetime’ of one of Scotland’s Most Iconic Whiskies Revealed
‘Sequel’ to world’s oldest whisky unveiled

From today, whisky lovers will get the chance to own the ‘lifetime’ of one of Scotland’s most iconic whiskies, with the jewel in the crown being a £13,000 bottle of 70 year old Scotch.

Family-owned whisky specialist, Gordon & MacPhail, will unveil one cask of The Glenlivet 70 Years Old, one of the world’s oldest whiskies, at a ceremony in Edinburgh Castle. Described as a “stupendous”, “smooth” and “voluptuous” single malt, and released under G&M’s Generations label, only 100 full-size bottles of this exclusive whisky will be available to buy in 2011.

To make these exclusive purchase extra-special, enthusiasts will also be able to buy a limited edition set, the “Private Collection: Glenlivet Decades.” This set contains a bottle from every decade from the 1950s to 1990s – giving collectors the rare opportunity to own the ‘liquid lifetime’ of the malt.

Founded in 1895, Gordon & MacPhail is known the world over as the custodian of some of the oldest and rarest single malts available. Members of the third and fourth generations of the Urquhart family now own and manage the business.

David and Michael Urquhart, Joint Managing Directors of Gordon & MacPhail, said: “Following on from the phenomenal success last year of Mortlach 70 Years Old, we decided to release this ‘sister’ Generations cask as there is clearly an enormous demand for greatly-aged Scotch Malt Whiskies.

“This cask of The Glenlivet was laid down on 3rd February 1940, on the instruction of our grand-father, John Urquhart. Since then, successive generations of the Urquhart family have been waiting for today – the day it would be ready to share with fellow whisky lovers.

“Throughout the 115 years since we were founded, we have made it our business to nurture and mature some of the finest whiskies Scotland has to offer. The ‘Glenlivet Decades’ collection revisits this special malt throughout the years, allowing whisky enthusiasts to get a real sense of how the cask and the maturation process change the character of a whisky.

“Altogether, these six whiskies represent the ‘liquid lifetime’ of The Glenlivet, and six decades of experience, dedication and passion on the part of our family. We’re confident that this investment has resulted in a suite of whiskies of unparalleled quality: a real collector’s piece.”

The whiskies will be revealed to an audience of invited guests at a 1940s-themed ceremony at the historic location of Edinburgh Castle.

Well-known whisky connoisseur Charles Maclean described the launch:

“Made at the height of the Battle of Britain, The Glenlivet 1940 opens a door into a different time, another country. To smell and taste this exquisite whisky is to experience the past in a unique way – layer upon layer of flavour, profound and evocative. Its companions from the succeeding five decades provide an unrepeatable opportunity to explore subtle differences in the flavour of this Prince of Whiskies over half a century – as well as being a Blue Chip investment!”.

Each bottle will be beautifully presented in a tear-shaped hand-blown crystal decanter with an elegant British Hallmarked silver stopper. The decanter nestles in a sterling silver base and is framed in a handmade box, crafted in Scotland using Scottish Elm.

The Glenlivet 70 Years Old was matured in a First Fill Sherry Butt, and bottled at cask strength (45.9% ABV). Only 100 70cl bottles and 175 20cl bottles will be released in 2011. The 70cl decanter has a recommended retail price in the UK of £13,000 and the 20cl version has a recommended retail price in the UK of £3,200. It is the second in a series of extremely rare malt whiskies to be released by Gordon & MacPhail under its ‘Generations’ brand.

Fifty limited edition collector’s packs are also available, containing all five Private Collection whiskies, priced at £2,850 per pack. The packs contain one bottle of each of the following whiskies: Glenlivet 1954 50.6%; Glenlivet 1963 40.6%; Glenlivet 1974 50.1%; Glenlivet 1980 48.5%; and Glenlivet 1991 54.4%.

The Private Collection: Glenlivet Decades bottlings are also available individually, with recommended retail prices in the UK ranging from £95 to £1,250.

Prices may vary in different countries due to different excise and sales taxes and currency fluctuations.

For more information visit

49 Responses to “Gordon & MacPhail releases another 70 year old whisky–and more!”

  1. Rick Duff says:

    disgusting, revolting, but a “Blue Chip” investment.

  2. Gary says:

    How nice. At least I can read about it.

  3. sam k says:

    Nice bottle, but it looks quite impossible to pour from. Oh, wait…never mind.

  4. Gal says:

    Dear me.

    another of those – fancy-you-cant-get-those-whiskies-as -they-cost-more-than-your-annual-net-income.

    give me a break here.

    this is a gimmick no more.

    how many bottles will be opened? 1% 99%collected.

    Un like!

  5. Naidene says:

    What Fantastic news.. So very exciting… thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Shai says:

    With all that count down, I thought something else would come.
    On all blogs the text about this “event” is so long, that when understanding this is a non-realistic priced bottle, I just got tired of thinking about reading it.

    I’m with Gal and Rick on this one – totally redundant.

    If producers want us to appreciate rare aged whiskies, why not just bottle them in smaller a bit more affordable packages that we can even buy in groups and share?
    As Gal wrote – I also guess this whisky will never be drank.


  7. Barry Jay says:

    Hey, whatever the market will bear. 70 years of an investment that the proceeds work to strenghten the bottom line so they can be around for another 115 years. I think that in many of these instances, there’s a subtle notion that proceeds must go to charity, but they have been nurturing this cask for 70 years. I say good work, a job well done.

    • I agree, Barry Jay. Whilst taking on board the complaints that this is really astronomically expensive, I prefer to put this matter to one side. I view whiskies over £100 (UK reader here) as way out of my price range right now so the question of whether I can get my hands on some of this becomes in itself redundant.
      My fascination, therefore, is based on that which John himself has pointed out: it is ‘history’, entirely at variance with the younger whiskies increasingly being released which also aggrieve us. 70 year old whiskies are rare (duh, but bear with me) and hence basically a novelty, an exercise in whisky-making (and marketing) more than a serious departure for flavour, whatever G&M might say. That many are likely to survive in the band vaults of the lucky few who can stretch to it simply reinforces the unique heritage of Scotch whisky.
      Last year on this blog there was a big debate as to whether whiskies made now are better or worse than in the past. Some of this will be and already has been drunk and evaluated. What we have then is a liquid time capsule uniquely connecting the fast-paced, mechanised and automated industry of today with the traditional one of the forties: whisky as a global product has grown up around this one cask and I think that very powerful.
      So whilst this won’t happen to me, I am proud that it can happen at all.

      • Barry Jay says:

        Indeed, they could also not release the batch, keep it in house and give to the employees as awards, gifts….etc. Hey, with the market growing I say, if you got it…flaunt it.

  8. Naidene says:

    Well unfortunately 70yr whisky is super rare… they only have 100bottles of it.. so i feel if you are lucky enough to have £13 000 and love your whisky then this piece would be fantastic to add to your collection. If it were cheap and available to everyone then it would not be exclusive now would it!!
    £13000 is a great investment into a piece of history that will never loose it value and only gain!!
    Happy collecting to the fortunate people in the world 🙂

  9. Shai says:

    I’m not sure it’s nurturing even though they mention the grand-father’s instructions, It just might be “forgetting” all about it and then finding it later. can happen and did in the past.

    I’m all for strengthening the bottom lines, but I think that is done anyhow by selling stocks for blends and with regular sales of regular lines. I don’t think that selling 100 bottles of this whisky will strengthen the bottom – it probably will cover costs of crystal design, PR and so on, later to be go sky high in price by collectors who will sell to each other and definitely not do anything for the “bottom”

    Charity should/could be great, if they do it and for a good cause, and if so – why not announce it from day one as a unique charity directed 70YO – that I would appreciate.

  10. Naidene says:

    But they have already produced a 70year Mortlach which was launched in 2010… and now a 70yr Glenlivet in 2011…. so fluke… maybe… but i think get the feeling this is more than an Accident…
    Exciting future for whisky i say…

  11. ps says:

    I enjoy reading about these old and rare whiskies, regardless of their attainability. Thanks, John.

  12. John Hansell says:

    Here’s my take on this. I think we all need to have the proper perspective here. If all their whiskies were expensive and out of reach, that would be one thing. But, don’t forget that G&M was given our “Best Buy” award last year for those three delicious 8 year old whiskies (Highland Park, Tamdhu, and Glenrothes) at a very reasonable price.

    So, as long as they are putting out quality whiskies at a reasonable price, then what’s wrong with them celebrating the fact that they had the wisdom to hold back some whiskies and offer those who can afford it a true piece of liquid history?

    • Joe Hyman says:

      Exactly John,
      I’ve been a fan of G&M bottlings for a long time. Not everything is great, but enough is really good and usually at a comparatively reasonable prices. See the whole Speymalt series? A wide range of Macallan’s at a fraction of the price (and IMHO, better). In their defense, they do produce the 200ml bottles… but like any of these super aged whiskies being bottled, it’s a pissing contest among the producers to come out with the oldest and rarest. Remember the Dalmore $160,000 bottle? Why- because they can.

    • JWC says:

      Agree with you John. 13,000 pounds to some people is like $13 to folks like me. Only 100 bottles and it’s 70 yo whisky. Let those who can afford it and want it enjoy owning it – whether they drink it or not. What I found interesting is another exclusive whisky bottled in something that looks like a perfume bottle. As for this particular perfume bottle, whoever buys one better be careful – they could poke someone’s eye out! :p

    • bj reed says:

      G&M is the most affordable of the independents in my view and they provide a terrific range of whiskies – I am a big fan and, no, I don’t work for them 🙂

      So, my view of this is if you can spend $175,000 for a 65 YO Dalmore you can certainly spend $25,000 for a 70 YO Glenlivet – Now, anyone wishing to do that let me know and I can give you my home address 🙂 🙂

    • Gary says:

      Ah come on John. We are just funning! Of course this is interesting.

    • I agree. Most can’t afford this whatever the price is 1000£ or 10000£. But don’t forget the huge range of very old and very afffordable priced whiskies that’s avilable from GandM. If I wan’t to buy a bottle of 50yo single malt whiskies I doubt there’s other bottlers than GandM that makes this possible for me!

      Steffen (not associated with GandM!)

  13. two-bit cowboy says:

    Congratulations to David and Michael.

    Not only are they living their dream — releasing their own reasonably priced and most interesting Benromach 10 last year — they are heirs to this dream, and they get to fulfill it too. Their story offers a wonderful contrast to other companies — big and bigger — that release “collector” whiskys for any purpose, charitable or otherwise.

    As regards their charity work, I’m happy NOT to see them breaking their arms while patting themselves on the back for what they do.

  14. Why not give the children someting to play, as long as they are willing to spend the money. I have no problems with that. It’s good that John pointed out the best buy fact. It proves that G&M actually can do differently.

    This is a product for people who don’t have to care about the price, and G&M seems to be confident that there are 100 people out there who will want to buy it.

    Who cares if the bottles just collect dust on the shelf, it’s only decent whisky, nothing more and nothing less. I can get whisky that is just as tasty for 1% of the price that I can actually drink, so why should I be jealous not to belong to the chosen few who show it off in their collections. There’s more great and affordable whisky out there than I will ever be able to physically handle anyway.

  15. timd says:

    When did the whisk(e)y hobby become Socialist? Are we all entitled to equal access – regardless of our means & experience? To some reading here, Wild Turkey & Buffalo Trace may be the pinnacle of a “high-end” bottling, and they only dream of the BTAC. A $50 bottle of Scotch could be a once-a-year splurge that they anticipate, research and dream of for months.

    To others (not me) dropping $120 on a bottle of Super Nova is nothing – they only flinch in the mid-$100’s. To me, I can honestly say I’ll likely never own more than a couple (total ever) bottle of $100+ booze. I know people, however, that drop $1000 on a bottle like it was Heaven Hill’s bottom shelf offering – that is they don’t flinch. I really like those guys, too- especially when they share!

    We aren’t all entitled to this. If you are pissed about a $20k+ bottle of booze, you must go bonkers over Porches and Ferraris – and those 10,000 square foot houses in Aspen, and Mortons of Chicago/Ruth’s Chris’, etc. – private aircraft must be a never ending cause of angst!

    I wish I could afford it. I do. I can’t. I won’t. Chances are even if I had that kind of cash, I wouldn’t drop it on this whisky, either (not a big fan of the Glenlivet).

    Let’s just all agree here that harping on prices like this only does one thing – takes up time. If it’s about getting Ardbeg 10yr from $70 to $50 in a local market, that’s reasonable – parity (or lack thereof) across like-markets is a battle worth fighting.

    John – I’d rather read more about things I can own, enjoy and share. But these “big news” items are certainly of interest to me. Thanks for sharing. I like it for the same reasons I read National Geographic & Playboy: to learn about places I’ll never go!

    • sam k says:

      Excellent, excellent take. Thanks for the perfect punch line!

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Tim– Wow. Branding statements that criticize whisky industry practice as socialist? That’s so crazy.

      The real question isn’t about of the critical folks but about you. Why are you imagining and preoccupying over such implications in what the folks here (all not socialist, I’m sure) are saying?

      • MrTH says:

        Because they’re not considering the implications of their complaints? Of course most of these people are not socialists–I’m sure most of them believe generally in a free-market economy. Yet they complain about one of the very obvious products of such an economy.

        • Red_Arremer says:

          Not to get technical here TH, but US markets are very regulated in comparison to any ideal of a truly “free market.”

          Further, the “bottom line” of whisky blogging is not acknowledging one’s inescapable commitment to one or another stereotyped economic ideologies (whether or not one actually has or allegedly must have such a commitment).

          And you’re so right, Oliver, I really shouldn’t let it get to me 🙂

    • US Americans tend to be rather quick at hand with the term “socialism”, perhaps because they only have experienced it from a safe distance. I woudn’t take that too seriously 😉

    • Barry Jay says:

      It’s fun knowing that there are casks that old…and still delightful. It’s that alchemisty this is so mystifying. I wonder how many times it’s been moved…checked…poked….etc. Maybe if you add up 70 years of cost, it’s actually being sold at a discount…. 🙂

  16. Shai says:

    timd – After reading your comment, and the others, I might have been too extreme in my view – I accept that and agree with you last two paragraphs.


  17. The Leveller says:

    three for me please

  18. RegularChumpington says:

    The 70 is what it is – super-luxe, out of my price range and I’m intensely envious of anyone who plans to buy and drink it. Then again, just as a piece of design it is a beautiful bottle (and I felt that way about the Mortlach 70y). I know I’m in the minority on that count, but I guess that’s what a design background does.

    Honestly, I find the Decades collection far more interesting and will likely seek them out if they’re not completely out of my price range. I have a feeling the ’74 is probably going to be the tipping point between “expensive” and “that’s my grocery budget for four months”.

    Vis a vis the price discussion that has been going on recently – I’ve been in a fortunate enough situation for a while where I could buy more than I could possibly hope to consume in a reasonable amount of time, and have managed to grab some very nice bottles in the last few months. Now I’m on the other side of things, leaving my job in the next few weeks and won’t have the disposable income I used to have. Certainly not at the no-flinch $100/bottle level anymore.

    But, it’s a blessing in disguise, as I’m looking to find some local-to-me-in-LA whisky fans to try and broaden my palate and share some drinks with some like-minded people. It’s a better experience as a shared experience, in my opinion, and as was said before – there’s too much on the shelves already to keep up with. I’ve found more stuff I really dig this way than going it solo.

    And as timd said, I’m happy to look at these incredible bottlings the same way I’m happy to look at a vintage ’57 Les Paul Goldtop or an Aston Martin. Fun to imagine and play “what-if” with, but likely just a fun dream. If the financial means line up and I was in the position, you never know… but I’ve found a lot of times the fantasy of these things is almost more fun than the reality.

  19. The simple fact is that what a person chooses to do with his or her money is their business, full stop! If they want to give Gordon & MacPhail £13 000 for a bottle of Glenlivet 70, who are we to judge? As a retailer, I don’t understand either the vitriol or the indignant anger. If Macallan, Dalmore or Glenfiddich had a 70 year old whisky right now it would be bloody close to $100,000.00 or more! I would love to get my hands on a bottle. I am still itching from missing out on having the Mortlach 70 in my store. Gordon & MacPhail puts out lots of excellent value whiskies. I don’t think its fair to begrudge them for selling this whisky for a relatively reasonable £13 000.

  20. John Parker says:

    Wish I could try this, but not in my lifetime. Will stick to Pappy.

  21. Brian Bradley (Brian 47126) says:

    Wile I find the price hard to swallow, I am sure the whiskey itself would go down easier. I would love to read your review of it, should you get a sample John.

  22. H.Diaz says:

    As in the past, it only takes one or two haters, err, posters to get a thread spiraling downwards. As usual, the posts are about uber-expensive bottlings – out of reach for mere mortals. Last year, Diageo’s “Managers Choice” bottlings bent a lot of people out of shape and these were priced in the hundreds, not thousands.

    Like the folks who pay upwards of 50 to 100 million dollars for a Pablo Picasso painting, it boggles the mind. Cheers, y’all!

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Personally I can’t hold it against G&M– They sell a lot of great old whisky at super affordable prices. 40yo for less than 400 dollars. 30 year olds for 220!

      Part of their good prices is that they don’t advertise so they can afford to sell things for less. If bottlings like this keep they’re accounts in order and get them publicity I have no prob with that as long as they keep putting out those great Macphails Selection 30 yo’s, etc.

  23. sku says:

    I have a dilemma, I only have £13,000 to spend, should I buy this, the Mortlach 70 or a car?

  24. Eric says:

    While it may be great stuff… who cares? Only a handful of people in the world will ever get to taste it, let alone afford a bottle of it. I’m more interested in great whisk(e)y that I can afford.

  25. Pat says:

    Tasting Notes are available from Serge at WF –

  26. Mike says:

    I would have really like to know how much loss they had from the “Angel Share”? It seems like that is a long time to sit in a barrel and they would have had a lot of evaporation. It says only 100 70cl bottles and 175 20cl bottles will be released in 2011. This would be about 105 liters combined. If a Barrel is approximately 225 Liters are we talking 50% loss? I assume they would hold onto some.

  27. Derek says:

    I agree with those who have stated that this unbelievable whisky is way out of their “price range”.

    However, I was one of the lucky few who actually tasted this jewel. I was at an event in Las Vegas
    last month , where the “piece de resistance”of the event was the 70 yr old Glenlivet .
    It was officially inaugurated in the US by Michael Urquhart, a joint Managing Director at Gordon & Macphail , who led the 20+ people in the room for this tasting.

    This “slice of Heaven” at a cask strength of 45.9%ABV, was matured in American Oak for 70 years and had absolutely no wood “on the palate”. It had perfect balance , very unique legs and was an exceedingly mesmerizing malt with marzipan , orange and peach flavors that lingered into a long warm finish.
    Was it worth the asking price? I would say definitely yes! Too bad I don’t have kind of money for a bottle of my own!

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