Blair Athol 1997 20 Year Old - Connoisseurs Choice (70cl, 54.5%)
A single cask Batch 18/010 bottling of Blair Athol, matured in a refill American hogshead for 20 years.
This was distilled in 1997 and aged until February 2018, when Gordon & MacPhail came along and bottled it up for the Connoisseurs Choice range. 255 bottles were produced.
Blair Athol distillery is one of Scotland's oldest, dating back into the late 18th century. Its modern story begins when it was closed down by Peter Mackenzie in 1932, and was purchased by Arthur Bell & Sons the following year. Distilling recommenced in 1949, and with Blair Athol malt at its heart, Bell's became one of the world's best-selling whiskies. Despite its importance to the blend, Blair Athol was also bottled as a single malt under the Bell's banner in the 1970s and 1980s. New owners, Guinness, were less interested in this when they took over in 1985, but their subsequent iteration, United Distillers, brought a back distillery bottling with the Flora & Fauna release. Despite its popularity, Blair Athol has yet to be bottled under its own single malt brand. Other official bottlings from the Diageo era are very rare
The Connoisseurs Choice label is one of the most recognisable independent bottlings on the market. It was initially created for renowned Italian importer, Edoardo Giaccone in the early 1970s, but became a mainstay of the core Gordon & MacPhail portfolio in 1979. This release follows the 2018 rejuvenation of the brand, which saw it reimagined as a premium single casks range.