Aged to Perfection: Macallan Glenlivet 33 Year Old by Gordon & Macphail

Apr 22, 2024

The Macallan Glenlivet 33 Year Old by Gordon & Macphail represents a pinnacle of whisky maturation, where time-honored techniques meet the finest of sherry casks to produce a spirit that is both complex and exquisitely balanced. This article delves into the art of maturation and the legacy of Gordon & Macphail's Speyside selections, exploring how the richness of sherry cask influence and the nuances of aging shape these extraordinary whiskies.

Key Takeaways

  • The Macallan Glenlivet 33 Year Old exemplifies the profound impact of sherry cask maturation, offering a deep luminosity and a symphony of flavors ranging from rancio and walnut liqueur to quince and dark berries.
  • Gordon & Macphail's Speyside selections, such as the Glen Grant Collection and Glenlossie-Glenlivet, showcase the diversity of aging processes, including the contrasting freshness of a refill sherry butt and the nuances of bourbon cask aging.
  • The legacy of Speyside whisky is celebrated through Gordon & Macphail's curation, which not only honors traditional sherrywood maturation but also introduces innovative aging techniques that add complexity and freshness to the whisky.

The Art of Maturation: Exploring the Richness of Sherry Cask Influence

The Deep Luminosity of Aged Sherrywood

The Macallan Glenlivet 33 Year Old by Gordon & Macphail is a testament to the art of maturation, where the influence of sherry cask aging is not just apparent, it's a revelation. The amber hue of the whisky is a visual prelude to the sensory experience that awaits.

The profile of this aged spirit is a complex tapestry woven with notes of rancio, walnut liqueur, and a medley of fruits. The sherrywood maturation imparts a deep luminosity that is both rare and sought after by connoisseurs:

  • Rancio, a rich and nutty flavor complexity developed over time
  • Walnut liqueur, adding a warm, spicy undertone
  • Aged pinot noir, contributing to the layered depth
  • Quince, introducing a sweet, perfumed dimension
The Macallan's 18 Year Old Sherry Oak is often cited as a benchmark of excellence, but the 33 Year Old takes the experience to new heights, offering a more profound and intricate flavor profile.

Each sip reveals new facets, from the initial burst of fruitiness to the lingering finish that echoes with the sophistication of aged tobaccos and herbal nuances. The journey through each dram is as much about appreciating the past as it is about savoring the present.

Rancio and Walnut Liqueur: A Symphony of Flavors

The Macallan 25-Year-Old Sherry Oak Whisky is often lauded for its profound flavors, a testament to the meticulous aging process in sherry oak casks. This maturation journey imparts a velvety, complex taste profile that is reminiscent of the rancio and walnut liqueur notes found in the Macallan Glenlivet 33 Year Old by Gordon & Macphail.

The essence of rancio, a term borrowed from the world of wine, is characterized by a deep, nutty richness that is both elusive and enchanting. It is this very quality that elevates the whisky to a realm of luxurious savor. The palate is greeted with a medley of flavors, from the herbal bitterness of cocktail bitters to the earthy undertones of tobacco leaf and dried mushrooms.

The finish is long and satisfying, echoing with the sweetness of ales and the warmth of herbal cough syrups, leaving an indelible mark of liqueurish vibes and dark fruits.

The profile of this whisky is a journey through a forest of flavors, where each sip reveals layers of complexity. The walnut liqueur element, in particular, adds a distinctive twist, marrying the green freshness of tarragon and eucalyptus with the savory depth of stocks and broths.

The Exotic Fruit Palette: From Quince to Dark Berries

The Macallan Glenlivet 33 Year Old by Gordon & Macphail is a testament to the exquisite complexity that can be achieved through patient aging and expert cask selection. The palate is a veritable orchard of flavors, with each sip revealing layers of fruit that have been carefully nurtured over time. The whisky's profile is not one of overt flamboyance but rather a subtle dance of nature's sweetness, from the tartness of citrus to the mellow succulence of ripe pears.

In the glass, the spirit unfolds with notes of gooseberries, greengages, and the distinct quince, culminating in a finish that lingers with a hint of white pepper from the cask. It's as if one is transported to an orchard, the air filled with the aroma of apples and quince, a sensation that is both grounding and elevating.

The addition of water brings forth a graceful fruitiness, unmarred by any 'tawdry' aspect, and extends the finish to include a touch of Spanish oranges coated with honey.

The Macallan's maturation process, which combines ex-bourbon and sherry casks, is evident in the harmonious blend of flavors. The Double Cask series, in particular, showcases this balance, with American oak sweetness and European oak spiciness playing off each other to create a whisky that is both complex and approachable.

Legacy of the Glen: Gordon & Macphail's Speyside Selections

The Glen Grant Collection: A Journey Through Time

The Glen Grant Collection by Gordon & Macphail is a testament to the distillery's storied past and the meticulous care in curation by the renowned bottler. This collection showcases a range of vintages, each with its own unique story and flavor profile, aged to perfection and presented as a journey through time.

The Glen Grant Collection Whisky encapsulates the essence of Speyside's rich whisky heritage. With selections dating back to the 1950s, connoisseurs are offered a rare glimpse into the evolution of single malt character over decades. The collection includes six expressions, each bottled at 40%, and provides an unparalleled opportunity to experience the subtleties of maturation.

Glen Grant 1958/2023 'Mr George Legacy Fourth Edition' stands out as a pinnacle of the collection. Matured in a first fill sherry butt, this expression is a tribute to Mr. George Urquhart's vision and dedication to quality. Limited to 376 bottles, it is a sought-after gem for any serious collector.

The Glen Grant Collection is not just a set of bottles; it is a curated experience that tells the tale of Speyside's whisky-making prowess through the lens of one of its most iconic distilleries.

The following table summarizes the key details of the Glen Grant 1958/2023 'Mr George Legacy Fourth Edition':

Vintage Cask Type ABV Bottles Released
1958 Sherry 56.5% 376

Glenlossie-Glenlivet: The Nuances of Bourbon Cask Aging

The Glenlossie-Glenlivet distillery, with its storied past and commitment to traditional craftsmanship, offers a unique take on bourbon cask aging. The nuances of bourbon cask maturation are vividly showcased in the Glenlossie-Glenlivet expressions, where the subtleties of the wood play a pivotal role in the whisky's final character.

Glenlossie's offerings, aged in bourbon hogsheads, reveal a spectrum of flavors that range from the nutty and herbaceous to the sweet and fruity. Each bottle tells a story of its own, with variations that intrigue the palate:

  • Glenlossie-Glenlivet 24 yo 1993/2018: Roasted nuts, pinewood, and a coastal herbaceous quality.
  • Glenlossie 19 yo 1997/2017: Vanilla, coconut, and tropical fruits with a hint of polish.
  • Glenlossie 25 yo 1993/2019: Fresh parsley, watercress, and high-precision malt with lemony notes.
The clarity and roundness imparted by the bourbon cask are complemented by the distillery's signature freshness, creating a harmonious balance that is both complex and approachable.

Each sip of Glenlossie-Glenlivet is an exploration of the cask nuance that bourbon wood imparts, from the golden hues to the aromatic finish. It's a testament to the distillery's mastery over the aging process, where time and woodwork in tandem to produce a dram of exceptional quality.

Acla Selection's Refill Sherry Butt: A Contrast in Freshness

The Acla Selection's refill sherry butt maturation process imparts a distinctive mineral edge that is both refreshing and complex. With the addition of water, the whisky's character expands, revealing layers of oily toolbox rags, rapeseed oil, camphor, and putty. These robust notes are harmoniously counterbalanced by a sweetness reminiscent of honey-laden porridge and sugary breakfast cereals.

Leaf mulch and old sherry rancio contribute to an aroma that is enchantingly balanced, a rare quality seldom found outside of vintage sherry bottles. On the palate, the dram takes a drier turn, with earthy tones of dried mushrooms and tobacco leaf leading to a finish accented by walnut oil and salted liquorice. The overall impression remains one of 'beautiful old style sherry', full of depth and character.

The nose presents an old school sherry profile, fresh and fruity, with dark fruits mingling with delicate earthy and tobacco nuances. Sultanas, figs, and prunes soaked in Armagnac dominate, while subtle notes of leaf mulch and rancio add to the complexity.

The Acla Selection showcases how a refill sherry butt can offer a contrasting freshness to the whisky, without overpowering the spirit's inherent flavors. It's a testament to the art of maturation, where the cask and the whisky engage in a delicate dance, resulting in a dram that is both grounded and ethereal.

Discover the exquisite craftsmanship and timeless elegance of Speyside's finest with Gordon & Macphail's curated selections at Rue Pinard. Each bottle tells a story of heritage and mastery, offering a taste experience that transcends the ordinary. Don't miss the opportunity to add a piece of whisky history to your collection. Visit our website to explore our exclusive Speyside offerings and join us in celebrating the legacy of the Glen.


The Macallan Glenlivet 33 Year Old by Gordon & Macphail stands as a testament to the art of whisky aging and the exceptional craftsmanship of the distillery. With its deep amber hue and a nose that promises a complex symphony of fruitiness, rancio, and a myriad of other rich flavors, this whisky is a true connoisseur's treasure. Each sip offers a journey through time, echoing the traditional sherry cask maturation that Macallan is renowned for, while showcasing the unique character that only decades of patient aging can bestow. As we have explored the nuances of this extraordinary spirit, it's clear that it embodies the pinnacle of what whisky can achieve when aged to perfection. Whether you are a seasoned whisky aficionado or a curious enthusiast, the Macallan Glenlivet 33 Year Old is a remarkable dram that deserves a place of honor in any collection.

Frequently Asked Questions

What distinctive flavors can be found in Macallan Glenlivet aged in sherry casks?

Macallan Glenlivet aged in sherry casks is known for its deep and luminous fruitiness, with a rich tapestry of flavors including rancio, walnut liqueur, aged pinot noir, bone marrow, and quince. The profile is further complemented by a variety of green, dark, and exotic fruits, as well as notes of herbs, tobacco, meats, and medicinal qualities.

How does the Glen Grant Collection by Gordon & Macphail stand out?

The Glen Grant Collection by Gordon & Macphail stands out for offering a journey through time with rare and exquisite expressions from the historic Speyside distillery. The collection features whiskies aged from 5 to over 50 years, each with unique characteristics influenced by sherry cask aging, showcasing the distillery's legacy and the meticulous selection process of Gordon & Macphail.

What are the nuances of bourbon cask aging in Glenlossie-Glenlivet whiskies?

Glenlossie-Glenlivet whiskies aged in bourbon casks exhibit a different spectrum of flavors compared to sherry cask aging. These whiskies can have notes of nougat, praline, roasted peanuts, fudge, and dandelion honey. The bourbon cask aging also imparts a grassy character, with some expressions developing a peppery or acetic edge, offering a complex and varied tasting experience.

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