The family who own single malt Scotch whisky Gordon & MacPhail have personally selected the whisky in two new Private Collection releases.
The ‘twin’ whiskies were selected for bottling by identical twin brothers Stuart and Richard Urquhart, and contain the oldest Longmorn single malts ever released, originally laid down to mature by the brothers’ grandfather George Urquhart in 1961.
Sold as a pair, only 97 sets of twin decanters are available worldwide with a UK recommended sales price of £30,000.
When filling Gordon & MacPhail casks, George Urquhart always had the destiny of each cask in mind. Often keen to explore the boundaries to further his understanding, the Longmorn twin casks presented an opportunity to reveal the effects of European Oak compared to American Oak during maturation.
Both whiskies began life with inherently the same DNA. Influenced by their environment – the species of oak – the whiskies gradually evolved and now exhibit distinctly different flavour profiles.
To mark the launch, Professor David Purdie, a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, has worked with Gordon & MacPhail to uncover what shapes character in twins – the effect of heritage, environment, and location. In two three-minute ‘twin’ films, Professor Purdie meets
Gordon & MacPhail’s director of prestige, Stephen Rankin, to explore the subject and reveal how this parallel could be applied to twin whiskies.
Both bottled at cask strength and matured in first fill Sherry hogsheads, the whisky from Cask 508, selected by Richard Urquhart, was nurtured in European Oak. Its whisky is a mahogany colour, with red highlights and exhibits a rich, abundant nose, bursting with complex aromatic flavours and perfumed top notes.
By contrast, the whisky from Cask 512 selected by Stuart Urquhart is rich chestnut in colour, gleaming with ruby and amber highlights. Matured in American Oak, it is slightly sweeter on the nose and fruity on the palate, with notes of black cherry, raspberry, and dried vanilla.
Professor Purdie said: ‘Like human identical twins, both whiskies share the same make up. They were born together, but matured separately.
‘It is remarkable to observe how the identical spirit filled into the casks all those years ago has been altered by the natural environment of the casks themselves – one crafted from European Oak and the other from American Oak.
‘Just like twins who start life at the same time and place, each whisky has then been shaped and developed by a multitude of separate factors to create these subtle differences.’
Stuart Urquhart, Gordon & MacPhail’s associate director of whisky supply added: ‘As someone whose day-job is applying the family’s knowledge of how to match spirit with the perfect cask, the nuances of our Longmorns, distilled 57 years ago, were especially intriguing.
‘The whisky I selected has a slightly spicy finish and many would attest that my sense of humour is certainly drier and spicier than that of my brother.’
Richard Urquhart, Gordon & MacPhail’s international sales manager for Asia and Americas, said: ‘For much of our lives, Stuart and I have shared similar environments, growing up together, sharing a flat while attending the same university, sailing competitively as a team and now working under the same roof.
‘However, as we’ve grown older, got married and had children, it’s intriguing to see how our individual characters, much like the whiskies, are diverging.’
Stephen Rankin, Gordon & MacPhail’s director of prestige, fourth generation member of the Urquhart family and himself a father of twins, said: ‘This is a unique and exclusive opportunity to taste a remarkable piece of Scotland’s liquid history. Owners of these twin decanters will be able to explore the similarities and nuances of the oldest Longmorn single malt Scotch whiskies ever bottled.’
Each individually numbered hand-blown decanter is beautifully presented in award-winning packaging which includes a book written by renowned writer and rare whisky specialist, Jonny McCormick, along with a personally signed certificate of authenticity from each brother.
The twin decanters complete the release of four extremely rare single cask bottlings unveiled as part of the Private Collection range. The first, Private Collection Glenlivet 1943 by Gordon & MacPhail, a rare wartime cask, was released in October 2017 and the second, Private Collection from Linkwood Distillery 1956 by Gordon & MacPhail, was released in February 2018.