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Issue 105 - Ask the Expert

Whisky Magazine Issue 105
July 2012


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Ask the Expert

I'm hoping that you could help me with some information on a bottle of Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Ardbeg. Distilled in 1974, the label says it was bottled in 1996 at ABV 40%. I am hoping that you might have some tasting or historical notes as I have been unable to find any online. I admit that I am loathe to open the bottle for fear that it may have some collectable value which, again, I have been unable to verify.
K McCormack, by email

Gordon & MacPhail of Elgin have released a number of Ardbeg bottlings distilled in the 1970s under their Connoisseurs Choice label and they are not infrequently seen at auction. For many Ardbeggians, the 1960s and 1970s were an invincible period of distilling and 1974 in particular has yielded high value collectibles such as Ardbeg Provenance and Ardbeg Double Barrel. The distillery continued its own floor malting operations until 1977 which resulted in quite variable peating levels between batches, a topic which generates fierce debates at comparative tastings. There are favourable historical tasting notes for Ardbeg 1974 Connoisseurs Choice bottlings if you have a copy of the Whisky Magazine Tastings book or Michael Jackson's Malt Whisky Companion Third edition, though be aware that they are probably not relating directly to the 1996 release.

While the official Ardbeg 1974 bottlings can fetch large sums at auction, the Connoisseurs Choice bottlings are not able to match them. However, McTear's, Glasgow had your exact bottle in t...

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