Showing posts with label gordon macphail's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gordon macphail's. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #172

Old Pulteney 1990
Gordon and Macphail Cask Strength
Cask 5470, 15/10/1990 - 21/4/2005
Single Cask Highland Single Malt Whisky
58.8% abv

Ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Whisky was clicked for the 100,000th time yesterday. If you are the reader from Tampere, Finland who poked around Dr. Whisky yesterday at around 7:40am GMT, then I have pretty cool a prize for you as visitor 100,000. Everyone else, if I don't hear from him/her by Friday it will be first come first served for the goodies. Please be in touch (contact info through pic on left). And again, thanks to all of you for reading, sharing, linking, emailing, etc.

In his 1967 "The Whiskies of Scotland", Professor Emiritus at University of London
Dr. R.J.S. McDowell wrote, "It is to me quite surprising that such a good whisky could be made in this grim, windswept fishing town on the North Sea. Caithness is indeed a bare country and needs a good whisky to warm it up." Having tasted this before (and stashed a few bottles myself) I can say that wherever you are as winter approaches in the Northern hemisphere, if you need something to warm you up grab a blanket or make a fire... and keep this whisky nearby should wool and wood combustion fail you.

Back in McDowell's drinking days, Old Pulteney was only available in the Highlands, particularly around Wick, but also through Gordon & Macphail. James Gordon and John Macphail began bottling whiskies as single malts in an age when blends dominated the whisky world, mainly in the Highlands of Scotland, out of their shop in Elgin in 1985. By 1914, they were exporting abroad. After over 100 years as independent bottlers, Gordon & Macphail has one of the most envied supplies of maturing stock and a list of past releases that make up some of the worlds most collectible bottles. More on G&M's history HERE.

Time to revisit this sherry monster.
Other Old Pulteneys had on the mission can be read HERE.I will include some notes on this whisky I took from folks at a tasting I held.


Walnut and honey sweetness, marmite and furniture cleaner.SHERRY. Chocolate and maraschino cherries. There is a floral sweetness, too, like roses, and some fishing gear/rubber trousers. "Smells like my grandmother's breath at Christmas."

Spicy like ginger, sweet and sour. SHERRY. Leather shoes, rubber soles and toffee. Vinyl, old records, rum, buttery/dairy sourness, bittersweet and pretty drinkable for the abv%.
"What the fuck is this?"
"(Odd face) So not right."
Finish is smoky with Honey Nut Cheerios, SHERRY, a little mintiness, and more marmite.


SHERRY. I am not a sherry freak, but something about this lights my fire... Not an everyday dram by any means, very moody and heavy, but it has depth and a gentle creaminess unexpected after so much oloroso influence and at such a high abv%. I don't think this same treatment would work with every whisky, or even with every cask of this distillery's make, but this one does... for me. The quotes above indicate the other extreme. Like marmite, its a love or hate thing.

Malt Mission #171
Malt Mission #173
Malt Mission #174
Malt Mission #175

Malt Mission HOME

Monday, April 16, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #62

Edinburgh University Water of Life Society
Independent Bottlers Meeting

Teviot Dining Room, Bristo Square, Edinburgh

April 16, 2007

Ended our Edinburgh visit appropriately by attending a meeting of the whisky club Kristin and I used to be involved with(first as poet laureate, then president) when we lived in Edinburgh. In fact, it was the society that got us involved with eachother in the first place. Ah, whisky; bringing people together for over 200 years...

The theme of the meeting was Independent Bottlings and we had a few interesting ones to try. Here are impressions of three of them. Notes in quotes are not my own and, where possible, I have attributed them to their sources.

Littlemill 1990, 16yo

Signatory Vintage
Single Malt Whisky

43% abv


Littlemill was a lowland whisky, although it sourced its water in the highlands. The distillery closed in 1984, opened briefly 1989-1992, suffered a fire started by youngsters in 2004, and today all but two towers have been demolished. It was the oldest Scottish distillery in production having been founded by George Buchanan in the 1750s, but obviously lost that position when it closed in 1992. The 8yo bottling you can sometimes find is still bottled by Loch Lomond, but the contents are in fact 14-15 years old.


Soft. Light and sweet with old spice or someone's dad's deodorant. Chinese 5-spice.
"Wet cardboard" -Leo, "Tequila" -Dan, "Cinnamon" -Joe, "Butterscotch" -Nikki
"Old wood in an antique furniture shop" - Lorna

Watery, melony, then mildew flavours, dissonant notes that really sour towards the finish. Like decomposition in the mouth.

"Damp clothes that were mud-soaked and now have air-dried." -Ran
"Chemical used to treat cow hides" -Jamal
"Rotten pineapple" -Leo
"Honeydew" -Joe


"The nose is misleading and the aftertaste is awful." -Judith
"Walking into a house full of mold. Possibly the worst whisky I have ever had" -Kristin
To be fair, I must note here that we warmed up with the smooth Irish Kilbeggan whisky, after which many malts would suffer. This was interesting, but certainly not something I would reach for.

Tormore 1993, 13yo

Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask
Single Malt Whisky

50% abv

After the Second World war, the whisky industry saw new growth for the first time in over 30 years; closed distilleries reopened and new ones were built. Three new distilleries were built after the war before Tormore in 1960, and only Tormore still survives intact and in full production. The distillery was built to supply malt for Long John blends. Today it is most commonly found in Ballantine's blends, and quite rare as a single malt.


Fresh, unripe tree fruit; pears or russet apples. Sweet coconut like Jon, Mark and Robbo's Smooth Sweeter One. Creme brullée.
"Linseed oil" -Dan, "Hot sick and flambéed cherries" -Joe

Firm mouthfeel that tastes bready and slightly seedy or oily, like sesame seed bagels. Mild pickle saltiness beneath.


Exciting sip after sip, new flavours abound, constantly developing but not ever blowing anyone away. Solid stuff.
"Weird bourbon cask. Too much woody... um... nutty rich... cinnamony" -Leo

Clynelish 1993, 13yo

Gordon and Macphail Connoisseurs Choice
Single Malt Whisky
43% abv

One of my favourite distilleries, references to Clynelish can be found here and at Malt Mission 23


Blueberries and apricots, shortbread, salty, and a whiff of peat.
"Sausage" -Leo
"Coconut" -Simeon
"It's making me tipsy" -Lorna

Dark and gloomy. Meaty and clean. Halal butcher. Oranges.
"Pork fat", "tobacco", "dirty old dirty old old dirty."
"Virgin pine palate/skid on the palate" -Simeon


Friday night in watching horror movies. Dark and scary, exciting and tense, but no surprises. My favorite of the night, but the Kilbeggan warm-up dram was the overall winner with the group. I regret not taking notes on that one. Oh well. A good night was had. Thanks, guys.

Malt Mission #61
Malt Mission #63
Malt Mission #64
Malt Mission #65

Malt Mission HOME