In celebration of the ‘father of single malt’, George Urquhart, Gordan & MacPhail have launched 355 bottles of a limited first edition single cask. An annual release is planned, named the Legacy Series. Gordon & MacPhail Mr George Legacy 1953 from the Glen Grant Distillery marks the culmination of the distillery’s 125th-anniversary celebrations.
Known as ‘Mr George’, Urquart was a pioneer of Scottish single malts and travelled all over the globe during the 1950s, bringing different whiskies to Europe and ensuring that Gordon & MacPhail’s base in Elgin became a landmark location for delegates looking to strike exportation deals.
Gordon & MacPhail’s release of “Mr George” is both the story of an extraordinary man and a living history of the rise of single malt Scotch whisky.
In the late 1960s, George Urquhart began bottling a range of single malt whiskies under the Connoisseurs Choice brand. The range would steadily grow, featuring whiskies from more than 80 distilleries in 2,000+ unique bottlings during the five decades to date.
According to Stephen Rankin, George’s grandson and the company’s Director of Prestige, during this period, G & M was both a specialty bottler of Scotch whisky, as well as an importer and distributor of a range of fine wines and spirits from Europe. During his yearly summer trips to meet suppliers, notes Rankin, his grandfather began to carry samples of his single malt bottlings to introduce to his suppliers.
Rankin describes fond memories of travelling, as a 12-year-old, with his grandfather in a Lancia Gamma across Europe, its trunk bursting with whisky samples. According to Rankin, G & M was the first whisky bottler to exhibit at European wine trade shows.
Almost a half-century later, G &M is widely considered one of Scotland’s leading specialty bottlers and whisky creators. Thanks to Mr George’s foresight, and succeeding generations of the family who continued to build on George Urquhart’s legacy, it owns an unparalleled collection of Scotland’s liquid history. This has allowed it to release more 50 years old+, ultra-aged expressions than any other whisky maker in Scotland. The “Mr George” release is a fitting tribute to that legacy.
Gordon & MacPhail’s official tasting notes show that the deep mahogany whisky has soft aromas of beeswax polish, stewed fruit, and hazelnuts on the nose. The taste is of warming autumnal spice, with notes of plum, blackcurrant and treacle. This gives way to a long, lingering finish with fruit, spice and a hint of bonfire embers.
It was distilled on Christmas Eve 1953 and spent its whole life in cask no. 4209, a first-fill Sherry butt, the first edition of the Legacy Series, was bottled on Tuesday, Jan. 5th, 2021, at a cask strength of 118.8 proof, which is higher than usual given the age of the whisky. It will retail for $9300.