Gordon & MacPhail Shifts Focus: From Independent Bottler to Distillery-Centric Approach

For over a century, Gordon & MacPhail has been synonymous with exceptional Scotch whisky, renowned for its well-aged single malts sourced from various distilleries. However, a recent decision by the esteemed whisky brand is about to mark a significant turning point in its history. 

Starting in 2024, Gordon & MacPhail will no longer be filling spirit into casks from distilleries it does not own. Instead, it will concentrate all its efforts on utilising spirit from its two in-house distilleries, Benromach and The Cairn.

This move is poised to redefine the brand’s whisky production and secure the future supply of high-quality single malt.

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Gordon & MacPhail’s Legacy as an Independent Bottler

With a legacy spanning 128 years, Gordon & MacPhail has earned a distinguished reputation as one of the finest independent bottlers in the whisky industry. Their expertise in maturing and bottling casks from over 100 Scotch whisky distilleries has made them an important name in the whisky industry. These carefully nurtured casks have been the foundation of their outstanding aged single malts, leaving an indelible mark in the annals of whisky history.

In fact, they have released some world record whisky, from distilleries that are not their own. G & M released the Generations 80 Years Old Single Malt Whisky, which in 2021, was the oldest single malt whisky ever released. As independent bottlers it was not from their own distillery, but from The Glenlivet. 

The story of the Generations 80 Years Old from The Glenlivet is an interesting one. George Urquhart is renowned as the father of single malt whisky, as in 1940 blended whisky was by far the most popular whisky of the day. Urquhart envisioned the shift in the market, hence storing whisky for an incredibly long time. 

Embracing Destiny: The Shift Towards Self-Sufficiency

The decision to no longer source spirit from external distilleries reflects Gordon & MacPhail’s strategic move towards taking control of its destiny. 

By directing its focus to the two distilleries it owns, Benromach and The Cairn, the brand aims to reinforce its position as a leading whisky producer. 

This transition will allow them to channel all their resources and passion into crafting exceptional whisky under their own label, ensuring a consistent and top-notch product for years to come.

An Industry in Flux: Challenges Amidst a Golden Era

The news of Gordon & MacPhail’s decision comes as a surprise to an industry that seemed to be flourishing during its golden era. 

Over the past few years, the whisky landscape witnessed the emergence of numerous new distilleries, with many more in various stages of development. Independent bottlers like Young Spirits and Halcyon Spirits also joined the scene, adding diversity to the market.

Changing Tides in Whisky Procurement

Despite the whisky industry’s boom, acquiring newmake (whisky before ageing) from other distilleries has become increasingly difficult in recent times. 

With heightened demand for whisky, distilleries have become less inclined to supply their spirit to third-party bottlers. Moreover, sourcing sufficient casks has posed a challenge, as the prices of American and Spanish oak barrels have surged due to the escalating demands from both new and expanding distilleries, outpacing the supply.

A Whisky Legacy Preserved

It is essential to understand that this strategic shift by Gordon & MacPhail will not have an immediate impact on their whisky releases. 

The brand’s warehouses still brim with ageing spirit from numerous distilleries. These aged expressions will continue to be commercially viable and released when they reach their optimal maturity, whether it be in the near future or many years down the line.

An Ever Changing Landscape

Gordon & MacPhail’s decision to focus solely on their own distilleries marks a significant change in the whisky landscape. 

As they embrace self-sufficiency, whisky enthusiasts can look forward to experiencing a new chapter in the brand’s journey.

Every whisky enthusiast experiences a journey with their passion. 

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