Milton 1949 (Gordon & MacPhail)

Milton 1949 (Gordon & MacPhail)

We find something really unique on our tasting table today: a Milton 1949. A landmark bottling.

The distillery known as Strathisla today operated under the name Milton (or Milltown) until 1951. At that point the distillery took the name of its flagship whisky. Back then they were independently owned, without the direct involvement of blenders. That makes it quite fitting for a family-owned company like Gordon & MacPhail to release this now.

Strathisla’s own history goes back as far as 1786, when it started as the brewery of a local monastery. It is the oldest working distillery in the Scottish Highlands. The name of its spirit refers to the river that runs beside it.

I’ve tried a Strathisla 1948 and even a Strathisla 1937 before (both coming from G&M as well) but this is even more special. Not only is it the oldest Strathisla ever released and certainly the last one to carry the name Milton, it is also the last cask from the 1940s that was resting in the warehouses of Gordon & MacPhail.


Milton 72 yo 1949 (48,6%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘Private Collection’ 2022, first fill sherry puncheon #383, 180 btl.)

Nose: a beautiful blend of waxed papers, leather polish, polished brassware and lightly medicinal minty notes. Old dusty candles, as well as some incense. Old books and chamomile tea. There’s a vague sweetness in the background, something in between dried banana and forest fruit jam. Hints of vanilla, faded nutmeg and marmalade too. Miraculously fresh, although it’s also very smooth and gentle, and most of the sherry seems to have evaporated / evolved with time.

Mouth: it becomes more oaky now, although the oak is silky and polished in a way that doesn’t stand in the way of the spirit. More waxy notes, with fruity hints of stewed pear and yellow apple, as well as bright citrus top notes. Very subtle hints of Fino. Hints of library dust and walnuts. A little herbal honey. Then a lot of eucalyptus tea, menthol and herbal cream. Whiffs of fragrant smoke in the end.

Finish: not too long, but quite round, with hints of toffee, marmalade, herbal tea and subtle smoke.

Sublime whisky that shows an extraordinary freshness. One of a kind in multiple ways. It can be ordered from The Whisky Exchange for instance, or contact G&M for other options.