Balblair, Strathmill, Tullibardine, Ledaig (G&M for Kirsch)

Balblair, Strathmill, Tullibardine, Ledaig (G&M for Kirsch)

Gordon & MacPhail released four single casks exclusive to Kirsch Import in Germany. All of them are Connoisseurs Choice bottlings from refill casks. We try a couple of refill bourbon casks and then a peat / sherry combo.

Most of them are still available in several German shops. Get in touch with Kirsch if you can’t locate a bottle.


Balblair 1997 (54,1%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘Connoisseurs Choice’ for Kirsch Import 2023, refill bourbon barrel #1884, 153 btl.)

Nose: the kind of active bourbon wood that highlights the fruitiness. Red apples, pears, green bananas, gooseberries and a hint of coconut. Light hints of unripe mango. Then minty notes and lemon balm, plus hints of chalk and clay. Light floral touches, orange peels and some Belgian white beer.

Mouth: fresh green apple and green banana, with a peppery boost and hints of grapefruit and lemon zest. When the peppery kick is gone, it moves towards honeyed notes, chalk and creamy vanilla custard. The wood was still fairly active, adding hints of aniseed and herbal elements in the end.

Finish: fairly long, fruity and spicy, with more grapefruit and a minty / grassy hint.

A slightly tight Balblair with a nice fruitiness and a good dose of wood spice. Such casks are nice but whether they are 15 or 30 years doesn’t make a huge difference sometimes.



Strathmill 2008 (56,9%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘Connoisseurs Choice’ for Kirsch Import 2023, refill bourbon barrel #804815, 141 btl.)

Strathmill 2008 G&M - Kirscsh Import Nose: sweet pear galore with hints of mango. Hints of vanilla cake and buttered popcorn. Slightly exotic. After the sweet and fruity onset, it gets grassier and gingery, with hints of bitter orange and grape pips. Even a whiff of glue. Nice.

Mouth: quite pure, full of green pineapples, lemons and clementine peels, as well as banana skin. Then there’s a chalky side and more of the grassy hints. A little white pepper. Then back to grapefruit and hints of ginger and aniseed.

Finish: quite long, with vanilla sweetness but also a firm herbal side and the bitterness of grapefruit zest.

A nice apéritif whisky, including the slightly bitter edge that whets your appetite. Strathmill is often matched to rather active bourbon casks in my opinion, and it often works. Score: 86/100



Tullibardine 2008 (58,2%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘Connoisseurs Choice’ for Kirsch Import 2023, refill bourbon barrel #21603506, 263 btl.)

Tullibardine 2008 - Connoisseurs Choice - Kirsch Import Nose: a floral fruitiness now. Apple blossom, gorse flowers and buttercups, along with green apples, lemons and pears. Just a hint of brioche dough or sourdough, banana skins and light minty notes. A light maltiness.

Mouth: bright citrus notes again, along with bananas, a little pepper and some nice apples. A drop of limoncello. Then a very moderate IPA bitterness again (am I too sensitive to this?)  which is countered by some honey.

Finish: medium length, with mild oak spice and lingering vanilla sweetness.

Overall a pretty classic bourbon cask, in my opinion, easy to like. Fairly sweet and fruity, with a nice floral touch. Independent bottlings aren’t always ‘deviant’ casks, you know: this kind of whisky wouldn’t misstand in the distillery’s core range. Score: 86/100



Ledaig 2001 (57,7%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘Connoisseurs Choice’ for Kirsch Import 2023, refill sherry butt #279, 465 btl.)

Ledaig 2001 refill sherry - Kirsch Nose: nice figs and raisins, along with milk chocolate and the typical sooty Ledaig smoke – some meaty notes, nothing dirty though. Tarry ropes. Then hints of glazed ham and Lapsang tea, as well as baked apples with brown sugar. Gingerbread and scorched orange peel as well. A pretty great marriage of peat and sherry.

Mouth: roasted meats with some herbal notes, tobacco leaves and liquorice. Black peppercorns. Then blueberry jam and black cherries, even though the peat is more prominent than the sherry here. Hints of toffee, cocoa and antiseptics. Mild peat smoke with a big savoury edge and hints of salted liquorice. Earthiness in the end.

Finish: long, still salty / savoury and smoky with black pepper and raisin sweetness in the background. Late aniseed too.

As much as I like the sweet fruitiness of a good bourbon cask (three good examples above), this is the one that stands out. The sherry works really well – especially the nose is quite excellent. That said, not really in sync with the season, so I suggest you keep this closed for a while. Score: 89/100