Gordon & MacPhail
In 1895, a humble grocery shop opened in the Speyside town of Elgin. A young John Urquhart joined founders James Gordon and John Alexander MacPhail and together they curated groceries from around the world.
Their appreciation of the rich tapestry of flavours they encountered led them to seek out and complement their varied stock with spirits from Speyside’s many distilleries, which they matured and blended to create their whisky portfolio.
John Urquhart quickly established himself as a valuable associate in the selection, purchase and maturation of whiskies and, by 1915, he was the sole owner. Over a long career, he developed his skills as a master of malt whisky maturation, which he passed on to his son, George, who also dedicated his life to progressing his knowledge and, in turn, shared his deep passion with subsequent generations of the family.
George Urquhart was described by many as a pioneer. It was George’s vision to mature Scotch whisky for long periods of time and bottle it as single malt during an era when the industry had turned its hand to producing blended whiskies. As a result, Gordon & MacPhail bottles the greatest selection of aged single malts Scotch whiskies in the world today.
Since the business was founded, the Urquharts have continued to build relationships with Scottish distilleries, purchasing new-make spirit and growing their understanding of how the varied styles of spirit mature in different casks. It is the understanding of this interaction, where oak gently cradles spirit until it is ready to be released, that makes Gordon & MacPhail one of the world’s most respected maturation experts.
Managing a portfolio of casks is complex. The company has honed its expertise over four generations to fully understand how the different styles of spirit mature in each type of oak. Today, Gordon & MacPhail matures and bottles award-winning single malt Scotch whiskies from many of Scotland’s distilleries, including several that would otherwise have been resigned to the history books following closure.
The foresight of previous generations and the patience and skills of the current generation mean Gordon & MacPhail has an unrivalled inventory of aged casks and expressions from which to innovate.
The company is renowned for releasing ultra-rare and ultra-aged single malt Scotch whiskies, unveiling the oldest whisky ever bottled, not once, but twice. 2018 was marked by several exceptionally intriguing releases. The oldest Longmorn single malts, ‘twin’ whiskies from 1961, were selected for bottling by identical twin brothers from the owning family. The company continues to push the boundaries of maturation – under the rebranded ‘Private Collection’ range, it has released the oldest bottlings from both the Caol Ila and Glen Grant distilleries. The 50-year-old and 70-year-old single malts were made available worldwide in December 2018 and January 2019 respectively.
Stephen Rankin, Director of Prestige and fourth generation member of the Urquhart family, said: “Our ’Private Collection’ range allows connoisseurs, enthusiasts, and collectors the opportunity to enjoy some of the oldest and rarest single malts in the world. These extraordinary bottlings epitomise the expertise and commitment four generations of my family have gained over 123 years pairing spirit to cask. Thanks to the foresight of my forefathers, we have one of the most extensive single malt Scotch whisky libraries in the world, one that includes expressions from over 100 Scottish distilleries.”