Dalwhinnie 1962 (Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice)

Dalwhinnie 1962 (Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice)

Some very old whiskies can be nice sniffing drams, but less impressive on the palate. It is a comment often heard with old Gordon & MacPhail bottlings, especially the Connoisseurs Choice range that once had a standard ABV of just 40% (brown label). It doesn’t help to bring out the flavour richness and it’s probably less appropriate for long bottle ageing.

Is this also true for this Dalwhinnie 1962? We’re about to find out. Thanks again to Mark Littler for this sample.


Dalwhinnie 20 yo 1962 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice 1982)

Nose: really old-style, with paraffin, linseed oil, silver polish and sooty undertones. Used metal tools, as well as some dried herbs, forgotten somewhere in an old attic. Wildflowers, moss and ferns. In the background there’s a vague sweetness of honey and marzipan. Quite lovely.

Mouth: still these oily, earthy and herbal notes, with subtle peat and a salty edge. Ashes. Hints of wet cardboard and a (fitting) bitter side, maybe briney olives and mint tea. Rather medicinal and dry, although there’s still a vague hint of toffee, lemon and peach in the background.

Finish: medium, on bitter tea, leather and resinous notes.

A very fine, fragile expression of a Dalwhinnie, with a lovely nose but a weakish palate (yet sharp at the same time). While it seems to be a richer spirit than they’re making today, it’s a shame that this wasn’t bottled with a slightly higher ABV.