Coleburn 1981 38 Years Old (Gordon & MacPhail)
Do you realise how rare Coleburn is? There are only 87 of them registered in Whiskybase, and the last time one was released was almost five years ago, by Gordon & MacPhail. This legendary independent bottler has now released a new Coleburn.
Coleburn was mothballed in 1985 and was traditionally used for blends, but Gordon & MacPhail chose to mature this new 38-year old release in a refill Sherry hogshead. Only 101 bottles are available worldwide. And I was lucky enough to receive a sample.
One caveat though: it was only a 1cl sample. That’s not me complaining, but just me letting you know that it is a little more difficult to judge a spirit on such a small amount.
Coleburn 1981 38 Years Old (55.9%, Gordon & MacPhail, C#476)
Nose: Fruity (forest fruits, blackcurrants, dark cherries), with a hint of espresso and varnish, as well as leather. There’s walnut skins and orange marmalade too, with just a hint of rose water and elderflower, and even a touch of licorice, mushrooms and soy.
Taste: Tannins, somewhat astringent. Lovely exotic fruits with proper orange zest and pink grapefruit to start, but also leather, tobacco leaves and a spicy jab. Finally a hit of menthol as well, but the oak spices are dominant.
Finish: Some soft dried red fruits and lingering spices. Slightly dry.
The nose is balanced, rich and beautifully complex, but the palate is a little overdeveloped, I feel. Very high-level stuff though.
Sample provided by Gordon & MacPhail
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.