Reputedly among the rarest Scotch whiskies ever bottled, the Private Collection Glenlivet 1943 by Gordon & MacPhail was distilled at the Glenlivet Distillery at the height of World War 2, when just a fraction of distilleries in Scotland produced whisky. Matured for more than seven decades in a first-fill Sherry hogshead cask till it was bottled in 2013, the latest release from the Private Collection range is limited to a mere 40 decanters worldwide, with a cask strength of 49.1 percent abv.
The whisky is of a rich chestnut brown with tints of russet and a nose evocative of rich, warm leather armchairs. A wonderfully subtle dance of coffee, milk chocolate, wood spices and burnt orange warms the initial impression. Its scent starts with a heavy sweetness, before deeper notes emerge to alter the tone entirely. Its palate boasts a full-bodied texture, almost viscous in nature, with a luxurious depth of flavour. Sweet and spicy seem to combine in a curious way, mingling with a touch of orange essence and a hint of Sherry notes. Its final layer is of a slight, drying nuttiness in a lovely conclusion.
To lengthen the whisky, add slight drops of water to open up its flavour to bring out a flash of citrus and wood flavours. Hints of dark caramel, coffee, and Sherry are still palpable, above the lengthening. The Private Collection Glenlivet 1943 is priced at £30,000, with a handcrafted wooden box and a bespoke, hand blown decanter’s base. Both the base and the stopper bear gold engravings of Glenlivet Distillery’s land contours.