Gordon & Macphail Smith's Glenlivet 1948

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Today I'll be taking another leap through time with the second oldest installment from Gordon & Macphail's Speyside Collection: The Smith's Glenlivet 1948.

George Smith's Glenlivet was the first licensed distillery after the 1823 Excise Act. An act that was pushed through by The Duke of Gordon, Smith's landlord. This Glenlivet isn't the oldest bottling by Gordon & Macphail. A 1940 Glenlivet has been bottled in 2011 as part of a Generations series. This 70 year old single malt is one of  the showpieces by Gordon & Macphail.

The name Glenlivet was  considered a brand of quality thus it became a popular appendix for distillers in the Speyside region. But only George Smith could use The Glenlivet as a brand name.

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Identity Card Smith's Glenlivet 1948

  • George & J.G. Smith's Glenlivet 1948
  • Gordon & Macphail distillery label
  • Distilled 11th February 1948, bottled 26th July 2010
  • 62 year old single malt
  • 400 bottles from first fill sherry butt #545
  • Alcohol: 43%

Tasting notes

Colour: Old gold. A very sticky liquid in the glass. Thick slow legs.

Nose: Warm sweet notes. An old sherry cask stuffed with apples and filled whisky spicy rum. A dunnage earthen floor.  Fruity bubblegum. Bananas soaked in rum from the oven.
With water: Spicy rum and herbal cough drops. Oldschool soft brown candy whom I cannot call by name. A whiff of menthol.

Taste: Strong spices and pepper. A sweet bitter development. Wood. Lots of it. Freshly roasted coffee. Roasted fig. Toasted bread. Again a herbal note. Chives? Pineapple peel and apple peel. Burned caramel and some sulphur in the background.
With water: syrup and spices. Chocolate bitters and wood oil.

Finish: A cigar box. Aromatic wood. Balsa wood to be precise. Burned caramel. A long earthy finish.

What did happen in 1948?

  • January 30: Mahatma Ghandi was murdered in New Delhi

  • March 17: The Hells Angels motorcycle gang is founded in California

  • April 30: The Land Rover is unveiled at the Motor Show in Amsterdam

  • August 16: Babe Ruth dies at the age of 53

No point in hiding I was pretty excited when this sample pack was dropped at my doorstep. Sampling these malts will certainly are very likely to give me a few experience points on my route to the perfect whisky (if such whisky exists).

This Glenlivet is the oldest vintage but not the oldest malt from Gordon & Macphail’s Speyside Collection. I have absolutely no frame of reference to compare this kind of malts. They offer a distinct complexity you'll never find in contemporary malts. I'm feeling lucky with this opportunity to try two malts from the late forties.

A sample of this whisky was provided by Gordon & Macphail. Opinions expressed in this review are of course my own.