By Kurt Maitland
While Scotland hosts a handful of independent bottlers, Gordon & MacPhail are special in that since 1895 they have bought unaged product directly from established distilleries and age it themselves as part of their portfolio. These whiskies are then matured in Gordon & MacPhail’s own warehouses (located in Elgin) or in the original distillery where they were produced, whereupon they are bottled when the company’s own people think they are ready under the individual distillery label or under the company’s Connoisseurs Choice or MacPhail’s Collection label. Due to more than a hundred years of this practice, Gordon & MacPhail has an enormous range of single malts, many of which are quite rare.
The MacPhail’s Collection Bunnahabhain 8 Year Old Single Malt is not one of those very aged, very rare whiskies, but instead represents a good entry point to what Gordon & MacPhail does.
Color: Pale Ginger
Nose: Sweet bran, light floral note
Palate: Toffee and malt with a light fruit element that can get lost in the unexpected burn. Adding water, cuts the burn down and brings more of the fruit to the fore. Even, not too dry and oily enough to keep it smooth.
Finish: Cereal sweetness that morphs into a lingering burn.
I’m a big fan of the Bunnahabhain. While the Gordon & MacPhail bottling does not match the power and flavor of the standard Bunnahabhain release, it is tasty and it gives you a hint of what the older Bunnahabhain release tastes like and at a lower cost of entry. That alone is a good enough reason to give it a try.
The list price is usually $40, but it might be found for less if you shop around and get lucky.