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Issue 131 - The Water of Life

Whisky Magazine Issue 131
October 2015


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The Water of Life

The spirit of friendship and the quality of Scotch

There are many elements which go into making a great single malt Scotch whisky (and, by definition, many more which go into making a great blended Scotch whisky). From the length of fermentation time, through to the cut point of the spirit run-off and the shape of the stills, each and every distillery has a unique journey for simple sugars to become power alcoholic spirit.

But as everyone knows, spirit doesn't become Scotch whisky until it has matured in an oak cask for at least three years in Scotland. It becomes a product of its environment and what shapes the colour, depth, complexity and balance is the experiences the spirit has over time with the oak cask it calls home.

There is no correct age for whisky. No point at which you can scientifically say that a cask has reached full maturity. It is a natural process, and that is what makes it so very special.

One company in Scotland that understands the idea that it is the wood which makes the whisky is Gordon & MacPhail. Since 1895, this small, family owned business, has been taking spirit from some of Scotland's finest single malt distilleries and maturing it in their own hand-picked casks. Spanning three different centuries, it is through their wealth of history and experience that Gordon & MacPhail have learnt how each distinct single malt spirit they acquire, with its own unique flavour profile and liquid properties, matures in different styles of casks.

Unlike traditional independent bottlers, who often purcha...

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