Gordon & MacPhail unveils rare 1950s single malt whisky from Linkwood Distillery

A leading single malt whisky specialist has released a rare single cask bottling from what is believed to be the last remaining 1950s cask from Linkwood distillery.

Published 20th Mar 2018
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

Gordon & MacPhail unveiled the new release today (20th March) with this latest expression from the Elgin-based independent bottler thought to be one of the oldest Linkwood single malt whiskies ever bottled.

The Private Collection from Linkwood Distillery 1956 is the last 1950s cask from Linkwood Distillery in Gordon & MacPhail’s vast inventory.

With just 53 decanters of the exceptionally rare 60-year-old whisky released (at 49.4% abv) for sale worldwide, whisky fans can expect to pay around £22,000 if they want to own one.

Described as an "intricately layered whisky", the The Private Collection is said to have "rich, warm aromas" leading to a "sweet full-bodied experience with highlights of blueberry, fruitcake, and dark chocolate".

Filled at the Linkwood Distillery on the 3rd January 1956, the whisky firm say Cask 20 is from a defining period in the company’s history.

It was one of the last casks laid down by John Urquhart, first generation member of the family that owns Gordon & MacPhail, before he retired the following month.

Maturing for six decades in a first fill Sherry hogshead under the watchful eyes of John’s son, George, and subsequent generations, the decision to bottle was eventually made by the current fourth generation of the Urquhart family.

Founded in 1895 in Elgin, Scotland, Gordon & MacPhail is the curator of many of the oldest and rarest single malt whiskies in the world with what is considered to be an unrivalled stock inventory.

For over 120 years, generations of the Urquhart family have matched new-make spirit from distilleries across Scotland with carefully selected oak casks, patiently maturing these to achieve the perfect harmony between the spirit and oak.

Stephen Rankin, director of prestige and fourth generation member of the Urquhart family, said: “Private Collection from Linkwood Distillery 1956 by Gordon & MacPhail encapsulates the company’s dedication to the art of single malt whisky maturation and tireless pursuit of perfection.

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"This incredible whisky is the culmination of the unrivalled knowledge and skills passed down and strengthened, over the decades, through four generations of my family.

“It is the deep understanding of the relationship between the oak and the spirit that has allowed Gordon & MacPhail to nurture this cask for six decades while retaining the unique distillery character.”

Private Collection from Linkwood Distillery 1956 by Gordon & MacPhail is the second of four exclusive single casks unveiled as part of the ‘Private Collection’ range. The first, Private Collection Glenlivet 1943 by Gordon & MacPhail, a rare wartime cask, was released in October 2017.

All 53 decanters are hand-blown and individually numbered with a certificate of authenticity signed by Stephen Rankin.

Linkwood Distillery 1956

Picture: Gordon & MacPhail

Whisky writer and rare whisky specialist Jonny McCormick, author of the commemorative book that accompanies each bespoke decanter, said: “Amidst an exalted world of luxury and prestige, Gordon & MacPhail commands the one inherent quality that every whisky connoisseur desires: rarity.

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“As this remarkable cask completes its journey, this alluring Linkwood whisky is exquisitely presented in a manner that does justice to the craftsmanship of the whisky makers and the custodianship of the Urquhart family. In the years to come, opportunities to experience world-class whisky exhibiting this maturity and complexity from the Fifties will be very scarce indeed.”

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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