Why settle for one single malt when you can have three!
There is no use denying it: I love Scotch whisky, and I keep an open mind and palate when it comes to discussing the virtues of each distillery. You’ll hear me talk favorably about the big industrial distilleries that churn out copious amounts of spirit just as much as you will hear me talk about the tiny producers who manage to squeeze out just a few barrels of whisky a week. But I also have a soft spot for a very small group within the Scotch whisky industry: the independent bottlers.
The independent bottlers are in my opinion the unsung heroes of the whisky world. They are the companies that bring diversity to our shelves and allow us to stock rare whiskies from distilleries that have long since closed or have been demolished altogether. The independent bottler also caters to the whisky enthusiast who is not afraid of branching out and trying new things.
And that is exactly what we have here: three excellent whiskies, from three distinct geographical regions, which are bottled under one label. Without further ado, let me present ‘The MacPhail’s Collection,’ brought to you by one of my favorite independent bottlers, Gordon & MacPhail.
Some of you will be familiar with Gordon & MacPhail (G&M) and their wide selections of single malt Scotch. However, I know that there are many more Vine & Table customers who look at me with a blank expression when I mention the name Gordon & MacPhail. What you all should know is that Gordon & MacPhail is one of the most respected independent bottlers of Scotch, with a pedigree that dates back over 117 years. This family-owned business began trading as a grocer in the town of Elgin in 1895 and continues to operate out of the same building today. They have ditched the heads of cabbages and sides of bacon but continue to sell whisky.
Vine & Table has carried G&M products for many years and we continue to do so because of the quality and selection that they offer. They truly are the definitive source for some of the rarest whiskies in the world, Scotches from closed distilleries like Convalmore and from distilleries that have been wiped off the face of the earth, such as Banff and Imperial. Without this company our whisky selection and your whisky tasting experience would be pretty boring to say the least.
I could go on talking about this company for quite awhile as it is a truly fascinating story, but I should get back to the most important topic: the whiskies themselves. As I mentioned, these three are from ‘The MacPhail’s Collection,’ which is a range of single malt whiskies that were produced at several distilleries, including Tamdhu in Scotland’s Speyside region, Bunnahabhain from the island of Islay, and Highland Park from the island of Orkney. Each has been matured in refill sherry casks for eight years, with each whisky gaining just the right amount of sherry influence.
The beauty of all three of these whiskies is in their distinct flavor profiles and their sheer value for money. If every distillery was producing whiskies like these at this price, then the world of whisky would be a much better place!
Highland Park 8 Year Old – The MacPhail’s Collection
A beautiful whisky from a legendary distillery. The nose is fruity (green apples), subtle sherry influence and a touch of floral. The palate has sherry wood with smoky notes (charred oak). A delicate vanilla sweetness emerges on the finish.
Tamdhu 8 Year Old – The MacPhail’s Collection
A classic Speyside distillery which produces bright floral malt. The nose is oozing with citrus fruits – limes/grapefruit with fragrant notes and hints of sweetness. The palate is medium bodied with malt, hints of cedar and an evident sweetness on the palate followed by a smooth and slightly drying finish.
Bunnahabhain 8 Year Old – The MacPhail’s Collection
This is not the big peaty phenolic style that you expect from a typical Islay malt but a far gentler dram. The nose has roasted malt with a slight sweetness; there are hints of tobacco and leather with an underlying fruitiness. The palate is sweet with sherry and sugared fruit which turns spicy and earthy with a roasted malt finish.