Connoisseurs Choice from Gordon & MacPhail | Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Connoisseurs Choice from Gordon & MacPhail

Tonight we participated in a Tweet Tasting hosted by The Whisky Wire, introducing us to the new look Connoisseurs Choice range of whiskies from Gordon & MacPhail. The redesign has come about as part of their celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary of the range, and aims to highlight the provenance of the whisky and the commitment to the art of Scotch whisky maturation. Each and every whisky in the range is non-chill filtered and bottled at natural colour. Here's what we thought of these unique drams...


Pulteney 1998, 46.0% ABV.
N: Grassy, gentle hay and a soft apple brandy sweetness. A dusting of nutmeg and raw brown cane sugar to finish off. After a few minutes, a little salination develops along with a rounding off of the spice and fruit that was present before. A little touch of alcohol spice comes even later, carrying with it a rhubarb-esque tartness.
P: Smooth, with very little in the way of oaky tannins but LOADS of vanilla sugariness. Apple pie, but served with a pineapple coulis drizzled atop in lieu of custard. More spice creeps on in as the dram opens up. A treacly nature adds to the finish.

Craigellachie 1991, 56.5% ABV.
N: Tart, tannic wood character, reminiscent of pickled walnuts. There's loads of dried mineraliness, a little chalk, and then pervasive citric notes - somewhere in between overripe lemons and Haribo Tangfastics.
P: POW! You can certainly feel the hit of that cask strength. The mineral presence is definitely still apparent, accompanied by lemon verbena and a touch of paprika. Adding a splash of water is like slapping your grandad's armchair - musk, a little book dust, and just a wee touch of secret late night cigar.

Highland Park 2004, 60.0% ABV.
N: Dank red berries and juniper with a saline edge - like walking through the hedgerows on a windy cliff top on the North Yorkshire coast. In balance with this, there's caramelised bananas doused in a salted miso butter sauce. Invitingly multi-layered.
P: Like licking a freshly sanded piece of oak. A little smoke fills the air, a chilli is simmering on the stove; cinder toffee meets cayenne pepper. For us, the ABV is not particularly pronounced, especially when considered in comparison to the previous dram. Smooth and sweet palatability.

Clynelish 2005, 56.1% ABV.
N: Earthy, dry saltiness. A stroll through a late evening herb garden, mint and lavender, the last smouldering vestiges of a forgotten barbeque.
P:Dates, salted lemons, warming spice - cardamom and cinnamon - pomegranate seeds and just a suggestion of herbal freshness to finish. It's basically the startings of a really tasty tagine. Deliciously complex and very well balanced. We approve.

Caol Ila Hermitage Wood Finish 2004, 45.0% ABV.
N: A platter of kippers, salted meats, lemon and caper butter, eaten whilst overlooking the Mediterranean. A few of our fellow tasters picked up on a prawn cocktail element - upon revisiting we could definitely get notes of the dust you find at the bottom of a packet of Skips!
P: Robust umami character - cooking the day's catch over a driftwood fire in a seaweed-ridden grotto. Bolder than your typical Caol Ila release and a complex surprise.

Big thanks to Steve at the Whisky Wire, and Stephen Rankin and the team at Gordon & MacPhail, for inviting us to participate in this evening of delectable dramming.

Cheers!

Jim & Laura