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Connoisseurs Choice

The 'Connoisseurs Choice' range was created by whisky visionary, George Urquhart, second generation of the family that still own Gordon & MacPhail.

Since 1968, almost 100 distilleries have been featured as part of the range, with over 2,000 individual bottlings, each telling its life story through its label: cask type, bottling date, strength, vintage, and tasting note.

Connoisseurs Choice

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Fifty years in the making

Against a backdrop of seismic social and political change around the world, George Urquhart decided in 1968 to go against the grain and bring whiskies to market under the Connoisseurs Choice brand in their purest form: as single malts. The whisky industry’s own metamorphosis was underway.

The growth of the Connoisseurs Choice range in the 1970s and 1980s was accelerated by George Urquhart’s annual pilgrimage to visit Italian collectors and distributors who helped to build awareness and shape the future flavour profiles of new stock being laid down for maturation. Just as his father had introduced him to the firm, so George brought in his own children. His eldest son, Ian, joined in 1967, with his younger brother, David, welcomed in 1972.

In 1981, Michael Urquhart and his sister, Rosemary (Rankin) joined the company, completing a whole generation of siblings all working within the company, each bringing skills and valuable business experience learned elsewhere.

Lasting Legacy

George Urquhart's legacy comes into particular focus when the facts and figures are investigated. In 1968, the total export value of all single malt Scotch was less than £3million. Last year the equivalent figure had grown to more than £1.1 billion.

Gordon & MacPhail’s Director of Prestige, Stephen Rankin, a member of the fourth generation of the Urquhart family, “I’m sure my grandfather, George, would be immensely proud of how the category he pioneered continues to grow and positively affect the Scottish economy. He’d also love the fact that members of the family still play active roles in helping to shape the next fifty years of the range he created. “

So have a look in the attic and under the stairs. If you find an iconic Ardbeg 1974 from Connoisseurs Choice, you’ve found a piece of history - and an iconic dram.

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