Gordon & Macphail is a fourth generation family-owned independent bottler, who is widely considered the world's leading single malt specialist and undisputed home of rare and collectible whiskies. This includes the oldest single malt whiskies ever bottled. They are the longest continuous independent whisky bottlers in Scotland.
Their collection of casks include some of the oldest known barrels in the Scotch industry and collated from all four corners of the country. Many have remained untouched since being filled with new make spirit. Gordon & Macphail also own a legendary whisky and grocery shop in Elgin, the Benromach distillery in Forres and are building a new distillery - The Cairn, located close to Grantown-on-Spey within the Cairngorms National Park. It is due to open in 2022.
Gordon & Macphail have five core ranges of whisky. These highlight the different styles of single malt.
The most popular is Connoisseur's Choice, which is well established with whisky drinkers since launching in the 1960s. The range offers a diverse selection with all bottled at either 43% or 46% ABV from small batches or single casks.
The super-premium products are in the Private Collection and Generations ranges.
The Private Collection offers older single malts from little-known or closed distilleries. Each is hand-selected by members of the Urquhart family, the owners.
Generations showcases the oldest stocks. Rare vintages and historically important liquids form the range. Recents bottlings include Mortlach 75 years old and Glenlivet 80 years old - the oldest known single malt to ever be bottled by anyone.
Distillery Labels is a celebration of the company's longstanding relationships with certain distilleries. Regular bottlings include Ardmore, Glenburgie and Glentauchers but also Linkwood and Mortlach.
Discovery is a flavour-led entry level range with three profiles - bourbon, sherry or smoky.
Occasionally other limited releases are bottled. These include the recent Last Cask Series that commemorated the 125th anniversary of the company in 2020. This featured Gordon & Macphail's last remaining cask from each of four long-closed distilleries - Coleburn, Glencraig, Glenury Royal and Mosstowie.
Gordon & Macphail was established in the year of 1895 as a grocery business in the Speyside town of Elgin. It was founded by James Gordon and John Alexander Macphail. They blended tea, coffee and spices from around the British Empire but also whiskies from the local area.
Early on the pair employed John Urquhart. He aided them in selecting, purchasing and maturing whiskies from nearby distilleries. In 1915 he was promoted to Senior Partner and later took over the business upon Gordon's death. It remains owned by the fourth generation of the Urquhart family today
John's son, George Urquhart, began working for G&M in 1933. In 1968 he created the iconic and pioneering Connoisseur's Choice range. This innovative series of whiskies is widely regarded as being key to raising awareness of Scotch single malt whisky quality to consumers. He was also instrumental in maintaining cask filling during World War II from the few distilleries that remained operational. Without this foresight, many of the rare Generations bottlings would not exist.
In 1967 George's son, Ian Urquhart, began working in the business. He became Managing Director in 1990 before retiring in 2007. Ian's brothers, David and Michael Urquhart, then became joint Managing Directors with Michael taking sole responsibility of operations in 2012 when David retired.
Stephen Rankin, John Urquhart's great grandson, started with the company in 2000 and represents the fourth generation. He is currently Director of Prestige, while another great grandson, Stuart Urquhart, is Operations Director.
In 1991 the company moved to custom-built offices, named George House after George Urquhart, and new duty warehouses having outgrown the original shop site. The shop remains and is regarded as one of Scotland's best whisky shops. They purchased Benromach distillery in Forres in 1993. It had been mothballed for a decade and took five years to renovate. The distillery was reopened by Prince Charles in 1998.