Elite Traveler Winter 2021


GORDON & MACPHAIL, GENERATIONS GLENLIVET 80 YEAR OLD There is an arms race going on within Scotch, one that values age above all else. Like any good arms race, the provocateurs flatly deny its existence. The Scotch decides when it’s ready, not the marketing team. It is, however, timely that Gordon &MacPhail released the world’s oldest Scotch whisky less than a year after losing the title. To be fair to the family-owned independent, it had already bottled the extraordinary Generations Glenlivet 80 Year Old when The Macallan revealed a 78 Year Old in 2020. The release was first bottled in February 2020 and held back due to the pandemic, but what is another 18 months when you’ve already waited 80 years? Waiting is certainly a theme that runs through Gordon &MacPhail. It is only with unwavering patience and skill that the owning family was able to nurse this Glenlivet whisky to such an age. Despite spending so long in first fill sherry butts, this Scotch remains vibrant and fruity, balancing inevitable woody spice with notes of orange oil, aniseed and figs. Aptly, the Scotch offers an exceptionally long finish that continues to evolve, transforming into hints of spearmint. World- renowned architect Sir David Adjaye designed a decanter as unique as the liquid. Known for his major buildings, he

BRORA, TRIPTYCH When the restoration team first

walked into the ghost distillery of Brora three years ago, it appeared as if time had stood still. Production had stopped suddenly in 1983 and workers had simply put down their tools and walked away. It seems quite preposterous that it closed due a sudden fall in demand, because today Brora is one of the most revered names in Scotch. The casks that were left behind aged beautifully and, today, the last remaining bottles from its original stocks sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Owner Diageo invested millions to bring the distillery back to life, and the first new cask was filled in May 2021. The occasion was marked with the release of Brora Triptych. The striking set includes three variations of Brora’s turbulent past: the smoky Age of Peat, the 48 Year Old Elusive Legacy and the 38 Year Old Timeless Original. Each one stands alone as a superb Highland Scotch, but the depth of character of the Elusive Legacy alone explains why collectors pay so much for a Brora label. There is a clue to each liquid’s rarity in the size of the decanters. Each one is unusually 50cl, and just 300 sets were made available. Today, you can only buy this by visiting the distillery on Scotland’s northeast coast, but some have saved themselves the journey by paying

offered an outsider’s view to bottle des The result is something the architect describes as a temple, rather than a de The cube shape and generous amount crystal makes it difficult to carry and perhaps even pour, but it certainly shows the deep amber liquid in its best light. The decanter sits in a bespoke ‘pavilion’ unbreakable relationship between the wood and whisky. Decanter No 1 of 250 was sold at Sotheby’s for $193,000. Demand for the other 249 will far exceed supply. $110,000, gordonandmacphail.com constructed with sustainably sourced oak, a tribute to the


canter. s of

a premium at auction. $41,400, malts.com

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