Historical look at the Gordons and elixirs


In the novel Casino Royale, Bond's recipe for his “vespa martini” was three parts Gordon’s gin, one part Russian vodka, a half measure of Kina Lillet aperitif, shaken until ice-cold, served with a slice of lemon.

The Gordon estates stretched from Deeside to Speyside, encompassing lands and rivers where many of the most famous Scotch whisky distilleries are to be found. The present Marquis of Huntly, as well as being the Cock o' the North, also holds the titles of Lord Glenlivet and Lord Strathavon, named after the two famous glens in the heart of Speyside's whisky country.

1769 Alexander Gordon sets up his gin business in London developed in London in 1769 by a Scot, Alexander Gordon, who had opened a distillery in Clerkenwell. The Special London Dry Gin he developed proved successful, and its recipe remains unchanged to this day.

By the 1820's although up to 14,000 illicit stills were being confiscated every year, more than half the whisky consumed in Scotland was being drunk without the benefit of duty. Eventually the Duke of Gordon proposed in the House of Lords that the Government should make it profitable to produce whisky legally.

1823 Duke of Gordon Whisky

Official start date of production of legal whisky in Scotland is the promulgation of the "Excise Act" by the Duke of Gordon in 1823.

Duke of Gordon, on whose extensive acres some of the finest illicit whisky in Scotland was being produced, to propose in the House of Lords that the Government should make it profitable to produce whisky legally.

In 1823 the Excise Act was passed, which sanctioned the distilling of whisky in return for a licence fee of &163; 10 and a set payment per gallon of proof spirit. This notable piece of legislation laid the foundations for the Scotch whisky industry as we know it today.

Under the aegis of his landlord the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, farmer and illicit distiller George Smith was the first to take out a licence under the new Act. The first legal distillery in Glenlivet, his neighbours threatened to burn it down Gillespie made a notable haul of illicit Glenlivet whisky in a desperate battle with smugglers. Gillespie then applied for a less arduous post

Mortlach Scotch Whisky Distillery History

Established by James Findlater, Alexander Gordon & Donald Mackintoshin 1823-24 Mortlach was the first licensed distillery to be built at Dufftown and, until Glenfiddich was constructed in 1887, the only one.

world’s first ever cocktail was created in 1858 using Gordon’s London Dry Gin and tonic water.

May 1895 Gordon & MacPhail Retail shop opened at South Street Elgin

James Gordon and John Alexander MacPhail announced the opening of their 'centrical and commodious premises' on South Street, Elgin, the whisky capital of the world, on 24th May 1895, promising to provide their customers with 'the utmost satisfaction' and guaranteeing 'a superior article at a popular price'.

Source: Gordon & MacPhail

1898 Alexander Gordon & Co merger with Charles Tanqueray & Co, forming Tanqueray Gordon & Co

William Grant & Sons Ltd.
Grant was joined by his sons, and also by son-in-law Charles Gordon, who became the company's sales agents. In 1903, the company set up a whisky storehouse in Glasgow, and by 1904, Grant had established its first export office, in Blackburn, in Lancashire, England.

One year later, Grant began exporting to Canada after discovering that the country's High Commissioner was a distant relative. After setting up an export office in Canada, Grant also opened an office in the United States. While John Grant was building up the company's North American operations, Charles Gordon traveled to the Far East on a year-long tour starting in 1909, introducing the Glenfiddich brand throughout India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Japan, before turning to Australia and New Zealand. Gordon next brought the Glenfiddich brand to the European continent, opening sales offices in Rotterdam, Hamburg, and in Scandinavia.

William Grant himself did not live to see the end of Prohibition. By the time of his death in 1923, a new generation of the Grant Gordon family, and in particular William Grant Gordon , had joined the company. The younger Grant Gordon persuaded the company to increase its production despite the drop off in sales.

1923: William Grant dies; grandson William Grant Gordon convinces Glennfiddich company to increase production in spite of Prohibition.

Caperdonich and Benriach distilleries were re-built after having been silent for over sixty years. Invergordon Distillers, Ltd., was formed

1960s Cock o' the North Single Malt Whisky Liqueur


Gordon's Gin
Shropshire - The family of Mr. Pritchard Gordon, Stanmore Hall, Bridgenorth, to which Rev. Osborne Gordon, King Edward's Oxford tutor, belonged, was described by J.M. Bulloch in the Huntly Express, Aug. 23, 30, 1907. To the same family belongs the founders of the well-known London firm which makes Gordon's gin.
John Malcom Bulloch, M.A.
The House of Gordon [Volume II]. Page xli
Aberdeen. 1907













Gordon Wines & Spirits