Leading malt whisky specialist Gordon & MacPhail is celebrating winning Gold in the Scotch whisky category of The Spirits Design Masters 2017, one of the most respected and high profile trade competitions in the industry. 

The design was conceived for the company’s exceptionally rare wartime single cask bottling which was released as part of the company’s ‘Private Collection’ range.

Every detail of Private Collection Glenlivet 1943 by Gordon & MacPhail alludes to the decades of experience and patience poured into nurturing the whisky to maturation. Launched in October 2017, it is one of the oldest and most exclusive single malt whiskies in the world.

Designed by Gordon & MacPhail, the whisky is presented in a bespoke handcrafted wooden box. The unique closure, a section of the meandering River Spey, represents both the journey through time and the physical journey of the cask from its place of birth at The Glenlivet Distillery to its final resting place in Gordon & MacPhail’s Elgin warehouses.

G M PC Glenlivet 1943 Decanter Box 1

A four-tier oak wooden base is also dually symbolic. Four elements are used to create the whisky: water, barley, yeast, and wood. Four generations of the Urquhart family, owners of Gordon & MacPhail, nurtured this special cask for seven decades. 

Taking centre stage inside the presentation box, atop the wooden base that also serves as an elevated plinth, sits the hand-blown bespoke decanter. Each individually numbered bottle is engraved and infilled with gold. The gold base and stopper have been engraved with the contour lines of the hills and glens surrounding The Glenlivet Distillery.

G M PC Glenlivet 1943 Stopper detail

The inside of the box is lined with a plush lining, also engraved with contours. Nestled within is an eloquent and visually atmospheric commemorative book written by whisky author Jonny McCormick. Opposite lies a traditionally printed certificate of authenticity signed and numbered by Stephen Rankin, director and member of the Urquhart family.

Margaret Ho, Designer at Gordon & MacPhail, said: “We wanted to communicate the rarity and exclusivity of this incredible whisky through the packaging’s touchpoints. We also created an immersive and sensory experience before the consumer took their first long-anticipated taste. From the touch of the engraved contour lines to the sound of the decanter closure releasing the first delicious notes of the whisky inside, the packaging excites the full range of senses.” 

Ian Chapman, Director of Marketing for Gordon & MacPhail, said: “This award is testament to the skills and dedication of our in-house design and wider team who worked incredibly hard to capture the unique essence and heritage of this rare single malt whisky.

“Laid down by the first and second generation of the Urquhart family and bottled by the fourth generation, this spirit has an incredible story to tell. Distilled when the world was in the midst of rationing and divided in conflict, whisky today is a wonderfully unifying drink and we wanted the packaging to communicate not only its exclusivity but also its journey through the past seventy years.”.

Gordon & MacPhail

Gordon & MacPhail is a family-owned Scotch whisky specialist which has been based in Elgin, Moray, since 1895. Four generations of the Urquhart family have continued the tradition of maturing the finest and rarest Scotch whiskies.

Since its foundation, Gordon & MacPhail has carefully nurtured relationships with Scottish distillers. These included The Macallan, The Glenlivet, Glen Grant, Linkwood, and Mortlach in Speyside as well as a number of other distilleries from across Scotland. From the beginning, Gordon & MacPhail has carefully matched spirit to the highest quality oak casks. These casks are sent to distilleries throughout Scotland, filled with new-make spirit, and matured either at the distillery of origin or in the firm’s own bonded warehouses in Elgin.

Now one of the world’s leading malt whisky specialists, Gordon & MacPhail exports to more than 60 countries. It offers more than 300 presentations of own-bottled single malts. In 2009, Gordon & MacPhail was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade; an honour that was bestowed on the business again in 2013 with a visit from HRH The Princess Royal.

In 1993 Gordon & MacPhail purchased Benromach Distillery and re-equipped it before it was officially opened by HRH Prince Charles in 1998. A four-star visitor centre is open to the public throughout the year for tours and tastings. Benromach distillery is a member of the world-famous malt whisky trail.

The Glenlivet Distillery

George Smith, founder of The Glenlivet Distillery, came from a long line of illicit distillers. In 1817, Smith leased land at Upper Drumin Farm where he continued the family tradition to supplement his crofter’s wage. In 1823, the Excise Act was pushed through Parliament championed by the Duke of Gordon - Smith’s landlord. Gordon not only persuaded Smith to take out the first licence in the parish of Glenlivet but he also contributed to the distillery build at Drumin. This distillery would produce a spirit that defined Speyside whisky of its day.

Due to the success and popularity of the Glenlivet Distillery, several distilleries in the region appended the name Glenlivet to their own. In 1884, a landmark decision ruled that only Smith’s single malt could call itself ‘The Glenlivet’.

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