Gordon & MacPhail

The company

Gordon & MacPhail is the oldest continuously operating independent bottler in Scotland. The company was founded on 24 May 1895 in Elgin, Speyside, as a delicatessen selling tea, wine and other spirits. The company name is a combination of the two founders James Gordon and John Alexander MacPhail.

One member of the new staff was John Urquhart. He quickly distinguished himself with his skills in cask selection and blending the malts. John Urquhart was also the first to introduce maturation in Spanish ex-sherry casks. This idea was very obvious for G&M, as they had the necessary casks as wine merchants. Under Urquhart's guidance, the storage time of the malts was also extended. At the time, it was common practice to minimise cask ageing. In 1915, Urquhart was finally appointed senior partner, and after the death of the founders, he took over the company completely. When Prohibition was lifted in America in 1933, Urquhart brought his entire family into the company. They even stayed in the business during the Second World War. When the war was over, Gordon & MacPhail was the market leader. As they still knew all the distilleries with their special characteristics, their company was one of the few ways for connoisseurs to buy good whisky. Today, G&M is still run by the Urquhart family.

In 1993, G&M bought the Benromach distillery. After a period of renovation, Prince Charles reopened the distillery in 1998. In spring 2022, G&M opened the new distillery The Cairn in the centre of Speyside. The first bottlings are expected in 2030.

From 2024, Gordon & MacPhail will cease its activities as an independent bottler and will no longer purchase new makes to mature them. Instead, the company will concentrate on its own distilleries.

The range

Thanks to the company's long history, G&M now has a considerable stock of casks. In 2017, the number of barrels stored totalled around 13,500, making the company a licensed bottler for some distilleries that do not release original bottlings themselves. These individually labelled bottlings are now regarded by connoisseurs as original bottlings.

The company also still owns casks from distilleries that no longer sell to independent bottlers. This is because these distilleries often ran out of their own older barrels due to insufficient stocks. G&M exchanged the required barrels back to the distillery, but received younger barrels in return.

Thanks to long-term planning and storage, G&M was also able to bottle the oldest whiskies in the world to date. Two Glenlivet single malts are currently maturing for an impressive 70 years in the independent bottler's warehouse. One Mortlach has even reached 75 years.

The final breakthrough came in the 1960s. With the Connoisseurs Choice series, G&M achieved international success in important export markets. This series The successful introduction of the Connoisseurs Choice series is now regarded as the catalyst for the establishment of other independent bottlers.


G&M now bottles its malts in many different series. The most important of these include Connoisseurs Choice, Distillery Labels and Speymalts. All Gordon & MacPhail bottlings are generally uncoloured. Unlike many of its competitors, G&M provides tasting notes for every bottling.

This characterises the individual series:

Connoisseurs Choise: This series helped G&M achieve its international breakthrough in the 1960s. Some of these vintage whiskies would not have been available as single malts without this series. The malts are bottled at 46% vol. and are not chill-filtered.

Cask Strength: In this series, the single malts are bottled at cask strength and without chill-filtration. Each bottle is labelled with the cask number, distillation and bottling date.

Distillery Labels: Each distillery is given a label specially designed for it. Some malts are now also officially marketed as licensed bottlings.

Speymalt: The independent bottler maintains excellent business relations with the renowned Macallan distillery. Only malts from this distillery are bottled under Speymalt.

Discovery: The latest series from 2018 differs in terms of flavour and production. There are three flavour profiles: Bourbon cask, sherry cask and smoky. The different characters have different colours and designs.

There were also series with the names Generations, MacPhail's, Private Collection Ultra, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee, Rare Old, Rare Vintage and The MacPhail's Collection.

Second label Spirit of Scotland

Outside of its own series, G&M maintains the 'Spirit of Scotland' bottle label. The respective whisky is bottled with this name and the name of the distillery, without G&M being named as the independent bottler.