3rd February 1940 marked the 155th day of 2nd World War, the British steamers SS Portelet and SS Creofield were sunk by a German U-Boat, while in a remote corner of the Scottish Highlands fifteen sherry butts where being filled with spirit at the Glenlivet Scotch distillery for and on behalf of Gordon & MacPhail. At a time when wood management was the last thing on the minds of most, remarkably one of these rare oak casks, number 339, would find itself making history of it's very own, in the next century.
Glenlivet 70 Year Old, 1940 Vintage, Gordon & MacPhail Generations is, for the time being, the oldest Scotch whiskey ever bottled. Just 200 decanters of the amber liquid where bottled and split across two special releases, the first in 2011 and the final releases made available in November 2012. Such an elusive bottlings means few will ever see just an artefact, nevermind sample it's remarkable nectar.
And not a bad blue-chip investment either, a bottle of the first release recently sold for $30k making this 2nd release seem like something of a relative bargain at $19,800.
Each bottle is individually numbered and presented in a tear-shaped hand-blown crystal decanter with a silver stopper and sterling silver base. All framed in a handmade box, crafted in Scotland using Scottish Yew wood.
Nose: Concentrated sherry, thick cut Dundee orange marmalade, fig roll biscuits, ripe bannana skins, candle wax, old leather boots and oak all wrapped up in a milk chocolaty freshness that belies it's age. Slight floral almost menthol perfume in the distant background.
Palate: The balance here is remarkable. Beginning with very juicy fruit salad with figs, dates and orange peel. This develops into butter tablet with a surprising garden mint layer - it's all very fresh and clean. Expecting a dry wood finish? Not here - the bold body is still there to carry through a sweet liquorice and cinnamon end.
Quite simply, outstanding.
Our thanks to @gordon_macphail for the sample.