Gordon & Macphail are probably the worlds leading independent whisky specialists, with a heritage going back over 120 years to its humble beginnings as grocers in 1895 based in Elgin. Their expertise in whisky maturation and selection has been at the forefront of the business, with an extensive range of expressions available from distilleries across the whole of Scotland.
With such an extensive portfolio to manage it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that they have just recently announced that the whole G&M range was being slimed down and relaunched. The new look portfolio will be split into 5 distinct ranges starting with “Discovery”, “Connoisseurs Choice”, “Distillery Labels”, “Private Collection” and finally the “Generations” range.
Connoisseurs Choice is the first to be released with the new look, at its heart it still stays true to the original idea behind the range. Giving consumers a chance to try whiskies that they might never normally be able to get hold of, taking them on a journey from the spirits birth as new make through its years maturing to the final product you will hold in your glass. This is more accessible with the new look range, the new labels will have all the information for you to take this journey. Things like the year of distillation, batch numbers, number of bottles, date bottled, types of casks used for maturation and tasting notes. All this information is great and for some of us will enhance the experience we have when we drink it, that said what is the liquid itself going to be like.
Thankfully I’ve been very lucky and was one of a privileged few that got to try a few of the new releases from the range in a recent tweet tasting. We got to try 5 new releases in total and the first I’m reviewing is from the Craigellachie distillery, this is one that I’ve not had much experience with so was most definitely interested in trying.
So the information of this malts journey is as follows,
Craigellachie 1991 Cask Strength 56.5% ABV.
Distilled: 13th November 1991, Bottled: 19th February 2018, Age: 26yo Cask No: 9465, Cask Type: Refill American hogshead, Number Bottles: 172
Now to the tasting
Nose: Rich creamy Vanilla, sweet red apples with some pine nut notes, fresh barley, a gentle toffee note, a little alcohol prickle hits the nose but soon fades letting some soft berry notes come through, strawberry, raspberry etc..
Palate: Sweet juicy fruit, strawberries, raspberries, big juicy apples, soft hint of pear, spicy ginger with a hint of oak, there is a malty/hoppy note in the background with of fresh toasted nuts and maybe a hint of soft smoke..
Finish: Medium with a big spicy ginger hit that fades to an almost hoppy aftertaste, very mouth watering and moreish..
Ok that is a great way to celebrate the 50th year of the “Connoisseurs Choice” range, this is a beautiful single malt with so much on offer. The nose is rich and full on but at the same time not over powering, then the palate has a complexity about it that gives the connoisseur so much to think about without being too overpowering for the causal drinker. For the first sample I’ve tired from the revamped range, I must say it’s a stunner and one that definitely showcases the distillery and what the range stands for.
I must say that at times I’ve previously thought the Connoisseurs range has been a little underwhelming and overpriced, this is certainly not one of those times. If this is what the new range is going to be like then G&M have go my attention, the new packaging looks nice and premium and the price is also at a great point. An official 23yo bottle is around the £300 mark, with this 26yo from G&M having an RRP of £215. Which I think is ok for a single cask bottle at cask strength, non chill-filtered and natural colour.
Now on to the next release from the new range, let’s hope it can come close to this beauty.