Discovery is the new introductory range from Gordon & MacPhail. It is a flavour-led range bottled at 43%, with three sub-types: Sherry, Bourbon and Smoky. It’s less about the details but at least the age is always mentioned, and the whiskies should be consistent.
From the first batch we try one of each style:
- Balblair 12 Years matured in bourbon casks
- Miltonduff 10 Years matured in sherry casks
- Smoky Caol Ila 13 Years (I assume from bourbon casks)
Balblair 12 yo (43%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘Discovery’ 2018)
Nose: high quality spirit with the typical Balblair elements. Bright and fruity (pears, kirsch, gooseberries, rhubarb jam, lime), a bit of eau-de-vie character. Almondy notes and soft grasses. Very fresh, simple pleasures.
Mouth: soft, sweet and estery, now a little greener. Granny Smith apples, green bananas, hints of tinned pineapple. Fresh malty notes. A little more vanilla and white pepper after a while.
Finish: medium, still quite fruity, with balanced peppery oak.
Complexity is a little lower here, but the profile is bright, summery and attractive. This should work perfectly as an introduction to (good quality) malt whisky. Available in the UK and Europe. Around € 55 from Master of Malt.
Miltonduff 10 yo (43%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘Discovery’ 2018)
Nose: sherry alright, in a slightly bloated way with lots of sticky toffee pudding, butterscotch, as well as hints of cooked strawberries. Raisins in rum. Oranges. Milk chocolate, whiffs of clove and tobacco. Gingerbread.
Mouth: sweet sherry with a buttery / milky side. Creamy and cake-y. Toffee and caramel. Cinnamon pastry. Hints of plums and figs. Gianduja. A little aniseed and gingerin the background.
Finish: more on spices now (clove), alongside hazelnuts and chocolate.
Not my favourite style of sherried whisky, with this butter toffee and milk chocolate body. It’s also a tad pressure-cooked but again, this should be perfect to attract a new audience and it sits perfectly across the bourbon style. Available worldwide except USA. Around € 55.
Caol Ila 13 yo (43%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘Discovery’ 2018)
Nose: quite herbal and minty for Caol Ila, mixing with lemons, kiwis and gentle peat. Then full power on brine, resin and smoked ham. Hints of gravel and a little beach sand. Nectarine in the background. Some vanilla from the bourbon cask as well.
Mouth: quite fruity, now more on apricots, melons and pineapple, slight hints of Fanta. Almonds, custard and fructose. Malty notes. I’m missing a bit of smoky power here, although there is a nice medicinal edge and quite a lot of spice.
Finish: not too long, salty and sweet. Vanilla, grapefruit and soft smoke.
A fairly gentle, sweet introduction to this style again. Well chosen, some of its flavours surprised me a little, but it’s good. Available worldwide except USA. Around € 55.