Whisky specialists Gordon & MacPhail releases rare 38-year-old Coleburn single malt

Whisky specialists Gordon & MacPhail have unveiled a rare 38-year-old Coleburn single malt as part of the launch of its new Spring Collection. 

Published 29th Apr 2019
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

The independent bottler's 1981 from Coleburn Distillery, is the latest addition to the ‘Private Collection’ range.

This rare whisky has been maturing in the company’s specially selected cask at its warehouse in Elgin for 38 years.

Gordon & MacPhail Coleburn

Spirit from Coleburn Distillery – mothballed in 1985 – was traditionally used in blending but the Gordon & MacPhail team say they carefully matched the spirit with a refill Sherry hogshead to create this distinguished single malt.

Founded in 1897 in Longmorn, five miles south of Elgin in Speyside, Coleburn distillery was designed by renowned architect Charles Doig, who also put together the plans for the Gordon & MacPhail retail shop in Elgin, and was one of many that closed its doors during a challenging period for the whisky industry in the 1980s.

Laid down on 11th March 1981, the Coleburn was bottled at 55.9% ABV on 14th March 2019. With a distinct mahogany hue, the new release is described as having rich flavours of "Sherry-soaked fruit, liquorice, and dark chocolate, and a long finish brimming with toffee notes and a hint of smoke".

Only 101 bottles will be available for purchase worldwide,  with a UK RRP of £1,250.

Stephen Rankin, Gordon & MacPhail’s director of prestige and member of the fourth generation of the Urquhart family, said: “Our mantra has always been to ‘do right by the whisky’; recognising when it has reached its ultimate peak and then bottling it regardless of commercial pressures or notable birthdays. Brought to you as a rare single malt, this 38-year-old release exhibits the true spirit of the Coleburn Distillery.

"My grandfather, George Urquhart, was always keen to champion the quality of the new-make from previously unheralded distilleries and this remarkable whisky perfectly exemplifies his vision. It’s one to celebrate and savour.”

Two more notable whiskies from the 2019 Spring Collection include Connoisseurs Choice 1998 from Glenburgie (UK RRP £136) and the Connoissuers Choice 2006 from Ledaig Distillery (UK RRP £73) - crafted using peated new-make spirit paired with a specially selected first-fill Sherry hogshead.

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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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