Imperial 1979, 40% – Gordon & MacPhail

I recently (as in, today) received my newest auction winnings. A curious term, winnings. You didn’t win anything, you were just the idiot that wanted to pay most for something.

Anyway, this sample of Imperial is an oldie from the ‘retro labels’ by Gordon & MacPhail and it’s bottled at 40%. I think that makes it at least a decade old since they went to 43% for everything quite a while ago.

Not to worry though, I just wanted to try an Imperial, since it had been ages since I did and this seemed like a good opportunity.The distillery is booked as mothballed, but the owners tore it down last year in favor of a new distillery with a new name that they will be building on the spot.

Imperial 1979, Gordon & MacPhail.

Imperial 1979, Gordon & MacPhail.

Sweet barley and grains in general. Also some acidity from unripe fruit, apples and grapes maybe. It’s crisp but after a while I get a spicy notes that I associate with chocolate milk and mole. There’s something else to it that I just can’t pinpoint. It’s very much like a grain whisky by the way. The thick vanilla and grain could easily be something from a column still.

Sweet and slightly spicy again. Some pepper too now, but with the sweet grain, and a thick, greasy vanilla feeling as well. Black pepper it is.

The finish continues on, on this road but it gets a bit more irony, like Dutch apple spread for on sandwiches (our version of marmite, but without it tasting awful). There’s also a hint of burning or roasting barley.

It’s tasty, it’s nice, but it’s very much like a grain whisky. The fact is that those grain whiskies are rare, but generally quite affordable. It’s fun to taste stuff like this for a couple euros from an auction or at a tasting but I won’t be buying any Imperial based on this sample. Nice, but that’s all.

Imperial 1979, 40%, Gordon & MacPhail


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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1 Response to Imperial 1979, 40% – Gordon & MacPhail

  1. Pingback: Imperial 16, 1994-2011, 57.4%, Bottled for The Whisky Shop Dufftown – Gordon & MacPhail Exclusive | Malt Fascination

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