Archive for the ‘Strathisla’ Category

Highland Laird Strathisla 1989 (25 year old) 52.2%

Sherry Hogshead/ Dist: 1989 Btl: 2014/ Tasted: April 2015

A dark-ish nose of treacle, dried plum, sultana, grape and dark spices. Lightly herbal and pleasantly aromatic with a good dollop of lightly toffee’d oak vanillins. Good maturity with late hints of Demerara sugar and coffee.

Full and soft on the palate, opening with sugar coated dried fruit and a light Armagnac-esque rancio. Edgy, woody spice, bitter chocolate and citrus provide balance. Long and succulent with the oxidation notes lingering along with the coffee, hickory, mocha and lightly salted nuts.


Strathisla 12 year old 43%

 Tasted: Jan 2013

Nose: Quite oily with oiled citrus, pineapple, apricot and oily banana skin. See the theme here! Stunning depth with a touch of unsweetened cereal. Polished oak comes through with a huge vanilla presence and the barley takes on a lovely, light, honeyed sheen. A serious fruit and oak fest!  

Palate: Lightly oiled, opening with the unsweetened oats and crunchy barley before the creamy take no prisoner’s oak arrives. Seriously big and chewy with some soft spiced moments.  

Finish: Good length with an almost grainy spiciness on the finish. Again the oak holds for a creamy conclusion.  

Conclusion: A stunningly big and fruity nose. However the oak does clamp down a tad on the palate and is ultimately a bit of an oak monster.

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Strathisla 1995 (16 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2134/ Dist: Dec 1995 Btl: Feb 2012/ Tasted: Feb 2012

A beautifully clean and fresh nose. Sweetly spiced with a touch of ozone and slightly dried, sub-tropical fruit. Liberally honeyed and showing a pleasant dollop of vanilla oak. Full and deep with a lovely fruitiness and late gristy spice. 

The palate is as fresh as the nose with some edgy white fruit and light honey along with hints of botanicals and toasty, spicy oak. Slightly grainy on the middle with a long buttery/ marzipan finish. Lightly oiled and I love that grainy bite to it!

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Strathisla 1991 (21 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2248/ Dist: June 1991 Btl: Mar 2013/ Tasted: Apr 2013

The nose displays a a lovely freshness for its age huge dollops of mature honey, spice an oak on displays as well. A seriously expansive nose which is fragrant and enveloping which develops a light floral note along with a touch of sandalwood. 

The palate opens with plenty of softly mature oak vanillins with some relatively sweet barley and light honey. Gently spiced with a touch of toasty oak. Good length with the sweet dark-ish malt and honey continuing, finishing with a fresh citrus and mineral note.


Ian MacLeod Dun Bheagan Strathisla 1998 (12 year old) ‘Petrus Gaia wine finish’ 43%

Sherry(?)/ Petrus Gaia/ Cask: 90292 + 93/ Dist: Oct 1998 Btl: 2011/ Tasted: July 2011

A slightly leafy (re-fill sherry?) and seriously malty nose with hints of some lovely syrup coated orange fruit. Quite complex with hints of charred wood and liquorice.  

Soft, showing a fair degree of youthful cereal. Quite full with an invasive burnt caramel note.  A good length, but again marred by the burnt caramel. The after taste is also somewhat sugary and slightly winey.  

Conclusion: An expressive and complex nose which is let down by an over carameled palate

Gordon & MacPhail Strathisla 25 year old 43%

Sherry/ Tasted:  Sept 2007

Stunning aromas of mature, rich orange marmalade fruit, candied orange skins, mature honey and wonderfully mellow sherry spices. Seamless with a lovely crisp edge to it and a delightful floral top note.

The palate is light and crisp. The flavours come in waves of spicy orange fruit, earth, malt and coffee. Again there is a lovely balancing hardness to the flavours. Soft and very long with a pleasant tanginess and a touch of menthol. 

Gordon & MacPhail Strathisla 1964 (44 year old) 43%

Sherry Cask/ Dist 1964 Btl: 2008/ Tasted: July 2009

The nose is big, woody and mature. All sherry with a bit of a sulphur blemish (more of a struck match note really). Leafy, herbal (as expected) with a late note of milk chocolate drops.

The palate displays some soft orangey fruit. Mature and earthy along with the struck match note. Good length. Soft with a woody/ tannic finish. In conclusion I can’t get over that struck match note. It has ruined the nose and to be honest the palate was ordinary at best.

Duncan Taylor Strathisla 1967 (40 year old) 46.4%

Cask 1886/ Dist: 1967 Btl: 2007

Initially a big hit of vanilla. A real marzipan overload. A clean, lean Kentucky orientated aroma! Damn it’s big and saturated. Once it settles down some perfumed orange fruit becomes apparent along with a slight menthol, spice and earthy note. The palate pretty much mirrors the nose. Oak, oak and more oak, but wonderfully clean oak that is! Definitely one for the Bourbon lovers!


Douglas McGibbon Provenance Strathisla 1996 (11 year old) 46%

Refill bourbon Hogshead 4701/ Dist: 1996 Btl: 2007/ Tasted: Aug 2010

A soft yet lemon fresh nose with honey and robust vanillins sitting in the background. Over time it develops some of tangerine, leather, grass a slight hint of peat.

The palate is crisp and granity with a citrus chenin blanc character. Balanced by a restrained sweetness and the subtle oak. Opens into a malty, damp earth and charred wood middle before the piquant-ish alcohol dries things out. Good length with hints of grass, gentle peat and light spice. Exits with a soft oak flourish. A pleasant Spey.

Douglas McGibbon Provenance Strathisla 1999 (12 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: PRV0740/ Dist Aug 1999 Btl: Oct 2011/ Tasted: Oct 2011

Quite big and malty on the nose with a touch of peat. Actually there is more than a touch of peat along with hints of coffee and unfortunately burnt caramel. 

The palate is relatively sweet-ish and malty with a good depth of macerated dark fruits, liquorice, earth, a touch of peat and some drying tannins, Unfortunately for me that burnt caramel note is too invasive and spoils what could have been an interesting bottling. Good length with a distinct molasses-like character and a slightly spicy finish.

Blackadder Raw Cask Strathisla 1989 (14 year old) 61.3%

Sherry Cask 9413/ Dist Nov 1989 Btl June 2004/ Tasted: July 2005

An absolutely stunning bouquet, rich, layered and bursting with extremely rich, sherried fruitcake, a profusion of almond, milk chocolate and oranges when a drop of water is added.

A big wow as this whisky passes the lips. Rich and decadently sherried, yet well balanced. Dry, soft and silky, full bodied with gentle peat, rum like dried fruits, molasses and moist fruit cake. Water brings out the rich, dark, spicy flavours. Very long and very classy.