Friday 18 June 2021

Imperial 1996 Gordon & Macphail (Blind) Review

Hi everyone,

Today I’ve got another mystery sample courtesy of u/UncleBaldric.

Imperial is one of the more available closed distilleries that is receiving a bit more attention than it used to. Remember the days when you could easily pick up a Signatory CS Imperial for £80? And these Gordon MacPhail Distillery Labels for under £60? Yeah, those were the days, the days when I didn’t realise how good I had it. I even remember recommending that someone start buying Imperial because the prices were going to go up. Did I go and follow my own advice? No, of course I didn’t.

Anyway, I had no idea this was Imperial at the time of first tasting but I did come back to it for post-reveal notes.


u/UncleBaldric Sample ‘B’

Colour: Amber

Body: Medium/Full

Nose: Bright cherry and strawberry notes, kinda artificial though, juicy, putting your nose in a bag of strawberry sweets. Maybe some tobacco.

Post Reveal: Yes, of course. Red apple, dunnage, tobacco. Noses like a 40yo Speyside from Sherry.

Taste: Soft and sweet. Lots of ripe cherry and grape. Feels like just above 40%. Dry oak, spicy too with ginger and black pepper. Maybe it’s an old Blended Malt from Sherry?

Post Reveal: Dry and old tasting, much older than 19yo. More spicy than first taste too, bringing it out of balance.

Finish: Short length. Quite drying. Lovely strawberry, some spices.

Guess: Reminds me of a 1977 Blended Speyside Malt from Sherry… But it’s lacking something of the complexity and balance. Maybe a 2001?

Reveal: Imperial 1996 G&M Distillery Label 43% (Sherry Casks)

Very happy with my guess here. Right cask, right strength, right age (this was bottled 19yo). Forgot that Imperial often tastes older than its years. I have had the 1995 equivalent and rated it well. Felt like this wasn’t quite as good.



Updated Distillery Rankings

Scotch Review #867

Whisky Network Review #1042

Network Average: 75.2

Best Score: 94

Worst Score: 12

0-49 Terrible

50-59 Bad

60-64 Just About OK

65-69 Ok to Good

70-74 Good

75-79 Very Good

80-84 Excellent

85-89 Superb

90+ Magnificent


Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

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