Whisky Advocate

Review: Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection: The Glenlivet Decades

May 23rd, 2011

A quintet of releases showing examples of The Glenlivet from five decades, issued to support The Glenlivet Generations 70 year old bottling (see earlier post). All are available individually or in a limited edition set (50 only) for £2,850; these bottlings are not currently available in the U.S. All reviews are by Dave Broom.

1991, 54.4%, £95

The youngest of the quintet has been aged in refill sherry hogsheads, but the coconut that immediately assails the nostrils suggests they were made from American oak. Alongside this is the distillery’s signature pineapple note which sits under a scented, floral lift. Water adds a further layer of ripe pear. The palate is equally heightened with a powdery feel. It’s pretty discreet and I’d be cautious with any dilution. The finish is a mix of night-scented stocks, custard, and green apple.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 83

1980, 48.5%, £250

This is from a first fill American oak hoggie, and the extra time in cask has given it a classic mature Glenlivet character: a rich, complex mix of cooked apple, pine, and citrus, cut with rose petal. The fruitiness has moved from pear into baked apricot. Water adds an almond note. The scented notes have been retained (especially on the finish), but have deepened into sweet spice. The oak gives light grip. Have with chilled water on the side.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 85

1974, 50.1%, £500

The nose immediately betrays the fact that this has been matured in a first-fill sherry hogshead. It’s akin to an artisan’s workshop, all leather oil and strange resins. There’s an intriguing hint of curry spices and truffle, but all in all this is about density, black fruits (damson), allspice, and clove. The cask is in charge. The palate has more tannin than you perhaps want — powerful and grippy with lots of nut and tea-like tannins; too grippy for me.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 79
1963, 40.6%, £750

A first-fill American oak hoggie was the receptacle for the representative from the 1960s. The cask has provided an extremely relaxed environment for maturation to take place, with a return of the pineapple (grilled on a barbecue this time), along with linden blossom, cream, green jasmine tea, and mint. The effect is like a grown up 1991. The maturity kicks in on the palate — thick and slow with some sandalwood alongside honeysuckle. Gentle and clean, and again not one to dilute.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 90

1954 50.6%, £1,250

First-fill sherry wood makes a return here and adds its own rich dried fruitiness — think sultana cake — to the exotic whisky rancio notes of cheese rind, sealing wax, and roasting pheasant. As it opens, there’s fig, some peat smoke, black cherry, and concentrated stone fruits. This exotic/savory/sweet interplay continues on the tongue where there’s a surprising hint of mint and some pear blossom. The finish is long, with apple skin, gingerbread, and walnut. A discreet nod to cognac.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 92

7 Responses to “Review: Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection: The Glenlivet Decades”

  1. Rick Duff says:

    Are these full size bottles (70cl)?

  2. MrTH says:

    1954 is my year of birth, in case you guys are wondering what to get me for my birthday this year.

  3. JWC says:

    for the most part, very mediocre scores for something that is supposed to be used as a support for something else.

  4. snakeman48 says:

    While I find reading about these kinds of ultra high end products interesting, I really do believe the readership of this blog will be hard pressed to ever purchase a complete set. Or even one bottle of any of the expressions listed, if they were to be released into the US.

    Sorry MrTH, my pocket change is running a bit low right now.

  5. Dave Baxter says:

    As long as “collectors” continue to pay ludicrous prices for special bottling’s, or series bottling’s, the madness will continue.

  6. Timothy says:

    It seems like everybody and their mom is doing these collector targeted deals. Would be pretty fun to taste no doubt, but alas, I am short the change too.

  7. Jerome says:

    Very interesting, but I wish Ardbeg and Lagavulin would do something like this.

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