Gordon & MacPhail launches Milton single malt distilled in 1949

Gordon & MacPhail launches Milton single malt distilled in 1949

Aged for 72 years, the spirit hails from the Speyside distillery now known as Strathisla

News | 25 Jul 2022

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Family owned whisky company Gordon & MacPhail (G&M) has announced the release of its last cask laid down in the 1940s from Milton Distillery, which today is known as Strathisla. This is the oldest and last ever single malt to be released by the company to carry the Milton Distillery name.

To celebrate the launch, the Elgin-based bottler and distiller has created a series of online videos explaining the significance of the release.

Matured in a cask filled especially for G&M, the 72-Year-Old Gordon & MacPhail 1949 from Milton Distillery is exceptionally rare, with only 180 bottles available worldwide. The title pays homage to the distillery’s original name given by founder George Taylor, and it represents one of very few releases ever to carry the Milton name.

In the mid-1940s, the site was undergoing several changes in ownership which resulted in the eventual name change to Strathisla in 1951. The picturesque distillery, with its distinctive twin pagodas, has been in continuous production since the 1700s.

The Milton 1949 decanter and its presentation box.

Despite the varied challenges of the whisky industry including economic depression and war, Milton continued to operate even when the majority of whisky production was halted in the 1940s due to a post-war scarcity of barley. It was thanks to close ties with Milton that the precious spirit was entrusted to Gordon & MacPhail to mature in a first-fill Sherry puncheon, where it would gently slumber for 72 years, finally bottled at a remarkable ABV of 48.6%.

Retailing at £50,000*, the whisky has been described by renowned whisky writer Gavin D Smith as “gloriously drinkable.”

“Once again, Gordon & MacPhail has delved into the darkest recesses of their Elgin warehouse and come up with a unique chapter in Scotland’s liquid history," Smith continues. "This is the first time in my career that I’ve sampled a whisky distilled at Milton Distillery - prior to it becoming known as Strathisla - which illustrates just how truly precious and important this release is.”

Ewen Mackintosh, Managing Director at Gordon & MacPhail, said:
“Milton, or Strathisla as it is known today, has small copper stills with a distinctive shape that helps to give the spirit its rich, fruity and full-bodied character. Decades of experience led us to fill the spirit into a first fill Sherry puncheon for long-term maturation.

“Having carefully assessed its progress down the decades, we feel now is finally the right moment to reveal this landmark single malt to enthusiasts and collectors. In terms of rarity, this deserves true ‘icon status. A Gordon & MacPhail whisky of this age bearing the Milton name has never - and will never – be seen again. Its long maturation has seen the cask gift the spirit notes of toffee, spice and a hint of smoke not traditionally found in more modern Speyside releases.

“Whether it was produced under the name Milton or Strathisla, greatly aged single malts from the site have always been met with anticipation. Given that so few releases have ever carried the Milton name – and that this bottling represents the oldest and our last - we expect demand for the 180 decanters to be extremely high.”


Matured in cask 383, a first-fill sherry puncheon, and bottled at 48.6% ABV. Outturn of 180 bottles.

Nose: Sherry influences intertwine with sweet vanilla pod and seville orange. stewed forest fruit aromas give way to vibrant festive spice and soft lemon zest.

Palate: Flavours of butterscotch give way to bright citrus and nutmeg. baked apple notes come to the fore alongside poached pear and honeycomb.

Finish: A long finish with lingering apple, dark toffee and subtle smoke.
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