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Gordon & MacPhail to release the world’s oldest single malt scotch whisky - an 80YO Glenlivet

The world's oldest whisky to date will be released later this year.

Published: June 16, 2021
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To celebrate the legacy of the Glenlivet, Gordon & MacPhail are set to release an 80 year old single malt whisky as part of their Generations series.

On 3 February 1940 in a quiet corner in the north of Scotland, George Urquhart and his father, John, had the foresight and vision to lay down spirit from Glenlivet Distillery in a bespoke Gordon & MacPhail cask to be enjoyed by future generations.

To celebrate John and George Urquhart’s vision, Gordon & MacPhail has collaborated with internationally acclaimed architect and designer, Sir David Adjaye OBE, to create a unique decanter and oak case to house the world’s oldest whisky to date.

Described as ‘an architect with an artist’s sensibilities and vision’, Adjaye was a natural choice as a creative partner; a man who shares the company’s values of artistry, legacy, and craftsmanship.

“When collaborating, I am looking for like-minded partners in terms of their craft, beliefs and traditions, said Sir David.

"I loved Gordon & MacPhail’s rigour and obsession with their products and their craft – a romantic commitment that enables one to do exceptional things. Our partnership felt so organic."

Referred to by renowned whisky writer Charlie MacLean as ‘the father of single malt’, George Urquhart passionately believed that each whisky should be left to mature until the cask and spirit had combined to create the desired quality, and it was ready to be shared.

The time for Cask 340 was to be 80 years – longer than any other Scotch whisky in history.

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On 5 February 2020, the decision was taken to finally bottle the cask’s out-turn, yielding a total of 250 decanters.

“That this whisky - the oldest single malt Scotch ever bottled - remains so full of vibrant flavour with a strength of 44.9% ABV, is testimony to knowledge handed down over successive generations of my family,” explained Stephen Rankin, director of prestige at Gordon & MacPhail Whiskies, and member of the fourth generation of the family that owns the company.

“Maturing a single malt Scotch over eight decades is an art,” added Ewen Mackintosh, managing director at Gordon & MacPhail.

“It is similar in many ways to architecture where you are creating something that needs to stand the test of time.

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"Neither can be rushed. Both Sir David and Gordon & MacPhail share a commitment to invest in the future.

"We both see the significance of creating something exceptional; leaving a legacy for future generations.”

Sir David Adjaye’s decanter and case will be revealed in September 2021, with decanter number #1 auctioned by Sotheby’s in early October 2021.

To continue the legacy theme, auction proceeds, minus costs, will be donated to award-winning Scottish charity Trees for Life whose mission is to rewild the Caledonian Forest.

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“It’s fitting that this release will provide a relevant, valuable and long-lasting legacy with direct benefits for many,” said Ewen Mackintosh.

The Generations range from Gordon & MacPhail has previously presented some of the longest matured single malt Scotch whisky ever to be bottled.

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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