Gordon & MacPhail is an independent bottler and distiller of Scotch Whisky, founded in 1895 and located in Elgin in the north-east of Scotland. It is a family business owned by the Urquhart Family.
A newcomer, Allt-a-Bhainne, (pronounced Ollt-err-VANE) was founded in 1975 by Chivas Brothers Ltd, then a subsidiary of Seagram and, as of 2001, of drinks giant Pernod Ricard. Built with the intent of ensuring a steady supply of whisky for Chivas’ blended products, the distillery’s unusual name derives from the Gaelic, ‘Allt a’bhainne’ meaning ‘burn of milk’. The distillery lies on the southern slopes of the rugged mountain range, Ben Rinnes and draws its water from a spring amongst the lofty peaks.
Much like its neighbour Braeval, no official bottling has been released from the distillery and it is unlikely, according to its owners, that there will ever be any; there have been, however, some independent bottlings from bottlers including Deerstalker and Duncan Taylor. Closed in 2002, due to saturation in the whisky market, the distillery was reopened in May of 2005 due to an increased demand for the blend Chivas Regal, Allt-a-Bhainne being a chief component. Today, the distillery has capacity of 4.5 million litres per annum.
15 year old single malt from Allt-a-Bhainne, distilled in 2006 and matured in a refill American hogshead. In June 2021, after 15 years, the team at Gordon & MacPhail opened up the cask to release a total of 453 bottles for the Connoisseurs Choice collection.
Nose: Digestive biscuits and honeyed flapjack, ripe berries, floral malt with gentle spice.
Palate: Sweetness continues with salted caramel, nutty cake, and warming baking spice. A touch of waxed orange peel lingers as soft ginger builds.
Finish: Vanilla muffins, more citrus and spice with malted oak and cinnamon.