1985 Gordon & Macphail Private Collection Inverleven 33 Year Old Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)

Lowlands, SCOTLAND
$2199. 00
$26388.00 Dozen
ABV: 57.4%
Hidden within the Gordon & MacPhail liquid archives are some truly remarkable casks that qualify for release under G&M's 'Private Collection' label. These casks are bottled at natural strength and specifically chosen by the directors, including third and fourth generations of the Urquhart family. As of 2018, the packaging for the Private Collection takes a major leap forward: Heavyweight, ridged decanter-style bottles come presented in stunning 'parquetry' veneer timber boxes. The completed package looks like something you'd discover in a millionaire's liquor cabinet from the 19th century.

A recent release is this 33 year old gem from the long-lost Inverleven distillery. Filled into a refill Bourbon barrel for Gordon & MacPhail in 1985 (six years before the distillery was mothballed) and limited to just 130 bottles globally, it's been summed up as intense with tropical fruit aromas on the nose and sweet flambéed banana on the palate. (Full notes below).

Also known as Dumbarton, Inverleven was built in 1938, just south of the Highlands border near Glasgow. Classified as a lowlander by Michael Jackson, production was predominantly set aside for the Ballantine's blends. There have been few outings as a single malt. Most recently a 36 year old was released by Chivas under the Deoch dan Doras label (94.5 points from Jim Murray). A smattering of indie bottlings exist, although stocks remain undeniably rare. Several of Inverleven's old pot stills were subsequently sold onto Bruichladdich.

Other reviews... BTW, remember Inverleven was a distillery that was embedded in Ballantine's huge Dumbarton complex and was closed in 1991. The stills are now at Mark Reynier's Waterford Distillery in Ireland. Colour: straw. Nose: balms, hand creams, marzipan, ointments, citrons, verbena, a drop of miso soup, smoked salmon and dill, then more tropical fruits, rather guavas and papayas than mangos. A few drops of yellow Chartreuse this time (the easier one). With water: cumin bread, poppy seeds, fermenting plums (have some in the garage, will distil before this month is over). Mouth (neat): but this was distilled last year! Intense lemony arrival, with a few fermentary touches (yoghurt, sourdough), then a grassy hotchpotch that would include agave, grass, and green tea. Fresh banana bread. With water: opens up like a flower, getting exactly tropical, with a style that is close to that of the fruitiest Littlemills indeed. Melon skin, mangos, tangerines, maracujas... Finish: medium, with the same tropical/citrusy notes. Comments: loves water. I think many are really starting to regret these fruity Lowlanders these days, Rosebank, Littlemill, Inverleven... No, St. Magdalene is a whole different story - and style.
88 points - Serge Valentin, whiskyfun.com

Notes from the bottler... Colour: Dark gold. Aroma: Intense tropical fruit aromas to begin – cooked pineapple, honeydew melon, coconut cream, and little burst of sharp yet sweet lime. A sweet creaminess continues with notes of vanilla ice-cream, sugared red apples, apricot jam, and white chocolate. Hints of overripe cherry and almond marzipan develop into flowering gorse. Taste: Creamy and mouth-coating; warming white pepper notes transform into sweet flambéed banana, madagascan vanilla pod, and salted toffee. subtle spicy undertones remain as toasted malt comes to the fore; a drying cocoa and charred oak edge develops. Finish: A long and lingering charred oak finish with a subtle floral edge. 57.4% Alc./Vol.