Gordon & Macphail Private Collection Glenrothes 1974

Gordon & Macphail Private Collection Glenrothes 1974

Gordon & Macphail recently revised their entire core range. The Private Collection, featuring rare and older single casks,  are selected by a member of the Urquhart family.

Stuart Urquhart - who also selected cask #512 filled with 1961 Longmorn - picked the first two Private Collection whiskies with the newly designed bottles: a 1974 Glenrothes and a 1985 Inverleven.

The Glenrothes distillery has been in de hands of Edrington and its predecessor for roughly 130 years. The whisky was mainly used in blends such as Cutty Sark from Berry Bros. & Rudd.  Glenrothes as a single malt brand is much younger. The first official 12-year-old whisky first appeared in 1987. This 1974 single cask predates the official single malt whiskies from The Glenrothes.

Identity Card Private Collection Glenrothes 1974 cask #18440

  • Independent bottling from Glenrothes Distillery, Rothes (Speyside)
  • Gordon & Macphail Private Collection
  • Cask #18440 - refill sherry puncheon - 276 bottles
  • 1974 vintage single malt Scotch whisky
  • Alcohol: 49.5% ABV
The Glenrothes Distillery
Picture: Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Tasting notes

Colour: Deep copper with an oily texture. Lots of fatty beads sticking to the glass.

Nose: Dried figs and dates. Dark bitter chocolate and winter seasonal beers with plenty of roasted malt and oranges. Christmas pudding and Turkish delight. An empty cigar box leaves a whiff of aromatic balsa wood. Meringue and bread-pudding with raisins and mace or nutmeg.
With water: Roasted nuts, definitely some almonds, and milk chocolate. A decent measure of vintage white port.

Taste: Sweet spices. Cinnamon has the lead. Again dark winter beers and nuts. Sweet apple sprinkled with cinnamon. Calvados isn't that far away. Chocolate cake and rye. Some red wine tannins and a distant tobacco note.
With water: Chocolate pudding with raisins and dates. Cinnamon and rock sugar. Or rather golden syrup.

Finish: Sweet malt, bread-pudding and nut chocolate.

Wow. This might be the dram of 2018. I rate this one significantly higher than the 1961 Longmorns when it comes to intrinsic quality as a drink. It retained a far better balance and isn't as bone-dry as the twin set of whiskies. Refill sherry casks are a far better alternative for maturing whiskies 30 years or longer. The 1974 vintage is simply a great Glenrothes.

Sample Disclosure: Samples of the new Private Collection were offered by Gordon & Macphail. Opinions expressed in this review remain of course my own.
Bottle Image: Gordon & Macphail Media Centre