Glen Grant 1956 62 Years Old (Mr George Centenary)
The Scottish whisky industry is steeped in history. Not just its distilleries but also its independent bottlers, and none more so than Gordon & MacPhail. The Elgin based company might not be the oldest of the indies, but it arguably has the most storied history in single malt whisky.
The latest Gordon & MacPhail release is a tribute to a key figure in the company history, George Urquhart aka Mr George. He is a member of the second generation of Gordon & MacPhail’s owning family and this would’ve been is centenary year.
Only 235 bottles of the Mr George Centenary Edition — a 62-year-old whisky from Glen Grant, distilled in 1956 — are available worldwide. The whisky was laid down by Mr George himself in a first-fill sherry butt.
The most lasting legacy of George Urquhart is the creation of the Connoisseurs Choice range in 1968, giving little-known distilleries and Scottish single malt whisky a platform that is still going strong over half a century later.
Glen Grant 1956 62 Years Old (51.7%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘Mr George Centenary’)
Nose: Intense and one of the more heavily sherried examples that I’ve tasted at this age. Beeswax, Demerara sugar, rancio, burlap and lots of dried red fruits. A few drops of triple sec, notes of roasted coffee beans, as well as a fair amount of praline chocolates. That balance! That complexity! My god, this is heaven…
Taste: A syrupy mouthfeel is the first sign of good things to come. Rich and big bodied. Notes of menthol, but also cigar tobacco, leather, and bitter espresso. Rum-soaked raisins, as well as a hint of aceto balsamico. Some soft tannins, which is pretty remarkable at this age, and a whiff of liquorice root. A touch of smoke is in there as well.
Finish: Lingering spices and charred oak. A whiff of pepper. Long and memorable.
Seriously world-class whisky worthy of remembering such a vital member of the Gordon & MacPhail clan. In terms of complexity and balance a notch above most other ancient releases from Gordon & MacPhail — or at least above the ones that I’ve been fortunate enough to try.
Available for 5,000 quid, which is a lot of money obviously, although not a sick amount in today’s whisky market — and yes, I do realise I just downplayed the cost of a five grant whisky.
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.