Inverleven 1985 Private Collection

Inverleven 1985 Private Collection (57.4%, Gordon & MacPhail, Bourbon Barrel #562, 130 Bottles, 2018)

  • Category: Lowland single malt scotch whisky
  • Origin: Invereleven distillery
  • Bottling: Gordon & MacPhail, Private Collection 2018
  • ABV: 57.4%
  • Cost: £1000

Gordon & MacPhail launch Private Collection Inverleven 1985 - pack shot HRfE

What they say

In 1985, Gordon & MacPhail sent Cask 562, a refill bourbon barrel, to the Inverleven Distillery located in Dumbarton within the area known in whisky terms as the ‘Scottish Lowlands’. The distillery had been making spirit for only forty-seven years and new-make would only flow for another six years before the Inverleven still was mothballed. The site was demolished in 2002, never to produce again. This exceptional single malt has matured for thirty-three years before being bottled at cask strength (ABV 57.4%). It retails for £1,000* (RRP).

Official tasting notes:

  • Aroma Intense tropical fruit aromas to begin – cooked pineapple, honeydew melon, coconut cream, and little burst of sharp yet sweet lime. A sweet creaminess continues with notes of vanilla ice-cream, sugared red apples, apricot jam, and white chocolate. Hints of overripe cherry and almond marzipan develop into flowering gorse.
  • Taste Creamy and mouth-coating; warming white pepper notes transform into sweet flambéed banana, madagascan vanilla pod, and salted toffee. subtle spicy undertones remain as toasted malt comes to the fore; a drying cocoa and charred oak edge develops.
  • Finish A long and lingering charred oak finish with a subtle floral edge.

What I say

Announcing the launch of their re-branded Private Collection, Gordon & MacPhail lead with this 1985 Inverleven & 1974 Glenrothes editions.

Distilled in 1985 at the lowland Inverleven distillery and matured for 33 years in a refill ex-bourbon barrel before bottling at 57.4% in 2018.

During the demolition of the Inverleven site the stills were rescued and taken by barge to sit outside Bruichladdich before more recently finding a home following Mark Reynier to Waterford distillery in Ireland. One of the many rumours centred around the move of these stills has them being tracked by US intelligence who took a keen interest in Bruichladdich’s re-establishment as a potential national security issue!

Needless to say for such a rare single malt from this distillery this is my first time sampling Inverleven!

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Sauternes gold (8/20), medium-fine slightly loose tears resolve to finer legs.
  • Nose: Sweet and a little musty, dried mango and pineapple rings, old wood mustiness like and antique shop with a fair amount of dust, some sweet vanilla icing, coconut ice or coconut mushroom sweeties, cherry bakewell tarts or cherry & apple loaf with sour-cream icing.
  • Taste: Sweet, creamy and a little zesty, icing sugar fizz with lemon and lime, fried pineapple and banana, sherbet, more coconut ice, lots of it in fact, milkybar buttons, a woody edge creeps in preventing this becoming cloying but give an air of balsa wood and solvents reminding me of a crafting bench or woodwork shop,
  • Finish: Long, a little drying, zesty and sticky/tacky with more wood and solvent influences.


A lovely old ex-bourbon matured expression, unfortunately I have little frame of reference for this as I haven’t previously sampled Inverleven output. Certainly display’s its age and is full of lively and entertaining flavours that I enjoyed very much.

Score 86/100

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