In the impressive stream of (usually excellent) premium releases from Gordon & MacPhail, there was this Glenlivet 1954, a 64 year old expression bottled at the end of 2018 from a refill sherry butt.
It was launched together with the outstanding Caol Ila 1968, both in the Private Collection series.
Glenlivet 64 yo 1954 (41%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘Private Collection’ 2018, refill sherry butt #1412, 222 btl.)
Nose: delicate but very good with lots of tiny nuances. Waxed papers, stewed pears, orange peel, with cedar wood and an ever so light smoky undertone. Lots of beehive notes (honey, pollen, beeswax). Some mentholated notes, cinnamon, tobacco leaves and whiffs of women’s powder. Really nice.
Mouth: very silky. You get herbal teas, marmalade and slightly nutty notes. Mid-palate there is a nice burst of fruity notes (apricots, plums) followed by a slightly hoppy / marihuana note. Goes on towards ginger, leather and a funny ‘battery’ feeling (placing your tongue on a 9V, you know).
Finish: medium long, with crushed peppercorns, liquorice, pine wood and mint.
A prestigious old whisky and a pleasure to try as it’s not overoaked. It does get a little herbal in the end with typical old oak aromatics. In terms of sheer balance, the Caol Ila 1968 was more to my liking. The price underscores its rare nature of course. Available from The Whisky Exchange for instance.