glen grant 1958 65 years gordon macphail mr george review

Glen Grant 1958 ‘Mr George Legacy’ (Gordon & MacPhail)

Gordon & MacPhail just revealed the fourth instalment of its Mr George Legacy range. This annual series celebrates the legacy of George Urquhart, one of the early champions of single malt whisky. The latest release is a Glen Grant 1958 65 Years, laid down by ‘Mr George’ in a first-fill sherry butt.

Independent bottling is no longer part of the company’s future (or so they say), but their remaining stock is vast. Of all the older whiskies I’ve tasted, Gordon & MacPhail has been responsible for many, if not most of them. It’s been a privilege to have another release from the Mr George Legacy range end up on my tasting table.

The embargo on it was lifted yesterday. Generally, that’s when I would’ve published my review. But Tuesday is not one of my regular publication days. More importantly, today I’ve something to celebrate – my birthday. (The last one in my 30s.) I’d like to think Gordon & MacPhail knew this, but if they did, they would’ve delayed the launch by one day. Either way, I figured the Glen Grant 1958 65 Years ‘Mr George Legacy’ was as good as any birthday whisky I could think of.

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Here’s what Stuart Urquhart, operations director at Gordon & MacPhail, has to say about the Glen Grant 1958 from the Mr George Legacy series: “My grandfather had a particular affinity with Glen Grant Distillery. Local to our home in Elgin, Mr George had a strong relationship with the owners and distillers through the decades and he enjoyed experimenting with different casks to complement the distillery’s lighter spirit style.  

“Back in the 1950s, the spirit would have been slightly smoky due to floor maltings and a small level of peat being used, which is a style rarely seen in today’s modern Speyside whiskies, giving this whisky a charred oakiness, balanced by long-term maturation in a Sherry cask made of European oak.”

See? No mention of my birthday at all. Must’ve been a happy coincidence after all.

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Glen Grant 1958 ‘Mr George Legacy’ (56.5%, Gordon & MacPhail, C#3818)

Nose: Intensely sherried, but balanced. Hints of tobacco, cigar boxes, mushrooms and prunes, as well as dates, furniture polish and a rather significant waxiness. Tinges of blackcurrants and crème de cassis, but also a good amount of leather-bound books, pine needles and fennel. Some dried strawberries as well as cherry skin, with finally just a tinge of Nutella accompanied by dark chocolate. And maybe I’m deceiving myself here, but I might even pick up on some smoky phenols. (Note: only after writing my notes did I come across the above quote that mentions the use of peat.)
Taste: Juicy tannins with intense cherries, raspberries and cigar tobacco, as well as shoe polish, leather and bitter chocolate. Then mochaccino, hints of teak and a return of the prunes, followed by burnt toast, some more fennel – maybe even mint. There’s absolutely sweet citrus peel as well, although possibly some orange pith too. Finally some chocolate-covered espresso beans.
Finish: Just very long. A good amount of charred oak, dark forest fruits and more bitter chocolate. Somewhat dry too.

The intensity and complexity of a whisky like this are hard to convey through text. There's nothing affordable available that approaches the flavour profile of the Glen Grant 1958 65 Years 'Mr George Legacy'. It's difficult to make any comparison to something more mainstream or attainable. My notes are probably twice the average length compared to most whiskies. And they could've been much longer. That should tell you something about the kind of uniqueness on offer here. Exemplary Scotch single malt.

Sample provided by Gordon & MacPhail

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