A few weeks ago, some samples from Gordon & MacPhail’s the Wood Makes the Whisky campaign dropped through my letterbox. The aim of these releases and the wider campaign is to highlight the influence which wood has over the final character of Scotch whisky
Just a quick reminder from the outset that Gordon & MacPhail fill their own casks and bottle the resulting whisky, unlike a lot of other independent bottlers, who’ll buy already filled casks from various distillers and then bottle. You can find out much more about Gordon & MacPhail here.
Now, with three drams to get through, let’s get cracking!
Distillery Labels Glentauchers 1996
Located in Mulben, Keith, Glentauchers distillery was founded around the turn of the 20th century by two famous whisky blenders of the day: James Buchanan and W P Lowrie. Today, the distillery is looked after by the team from Chivas Brothers, with its final product forming a large component of Ballantines, Teachers and Chivas Regal. As a result, hardly any Glentauchers is released as a single malt, so this is a real treat.
From the off, there’s everything you’d expect from a lightly sherried whisky – lots of stewed apples and sweet fruity aromas, with a hint of spice and vanilla. The palate was much lighter and smoother than expected. There’s traditional greengrocer fruits – red apples and oranges – with the sweetness of white chocolate and a slight edge of cinnamon.
Connonissers Choice Glen Elgin 1998
As the name suggests, Glen Elgin distillery is based just south of Speyside’s unofficial capital, Elgin. It was the last distillery to be built in the region during the boom years of the 1890s, with the next not following until Tormore distillery was built in 1958. The spirit produced here is synonymous with White Horse blended whisky, which is exported to over 200 countries worldwide.
Another whisky with a very subtle sherry influence – more apples, dates, prunes and dried apricots, with a hint of orange oil. And bizarrely, a slight nasal finish of crayons. Another light palate, but this one gives the mouth a more thorough coating. A mixture of sweetness and peppery spice to start, which give way to grapefruit and blackcurrants.
Connoisseurs Choice Caol Ila 2004
Needing a little less introduction than the two previous whiskies, Caol Ila hails from the whisky isle of Islay. Located towards the north east of the island, the distillery is Islay’s largest, with a production capacity of three million litres a year.
This is unmistakably a Caol Ila. There’s a slightly Islay smokiness, but a brine, saltiness is the overriding flavour, with a small squeeze of lemon. The palate is surprisingly creamy, yet there’s still a smoky, charred edge to it, with plenty of orange and unripened banana too.
Three cracking drams, although I’d say the Glen Elgin just pipped the two others to the post.
For more information about Gordon & MacPhail, log on to their website here.
My whiskies were provided by Gordon & MacPhail.