Review: 3 Gordon & MacPhail Scotch Bottlings, 2009

Gordon & MacPhail is one of the most — if not the most — well-respected independent bottlers of Scotch whiskys in the world. Recently the company put out three young and inexpensive renditions of whiskys drawn from the casks of some major-name distilleries. Here’s how they stack up. All are 86 proof and, oddly, eight years old.

Gordon & MacPhail MacPhail’s Collection Glenrothes 8 Years Old – A remarkable but young whisky, unusual because I don’t often like Glenrothes, but this rendition is quite tasty. Vibrant and alive, it’s got sweetness up front and a bit of a woody kick in the finish. Spices like cinnamon and cloves dance with a little honey, all very well balanced. A-

Gordon & MacPhail MacPhail’s Collection Highland Park 8 Years Old – Another youthful and exuberant young expression of a perennial favorite distillery, and quite similar to the Glenrothes but possibly a bit less complicated and nuanced. Very easy-drinking, it’s got a touch more wood on the tongue and a bit more body to it. A-

Gordon & MacPhail MacPhail’s Collection Tamdhu 8 Years Old – Slightly darker than the other two, this Speyside whisky is hotter, with more of a bitter edge to it. I like the caramel backbone and spicy kick, but otherwise this one feels a touch unbalanced. Drinkable, but not my favorite. B

each about $40 /

macphail's collection scotch

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