Archive for the ‘Strathmill’ Category

Mackillop’s Choice Strathmill 1997 (18 year old) 52%

Bourbon Cask 1530/ Dist: Mar 1997 Btl: Jan 2016/ Tasted: Nov 2016

A lovely nose of macerated orange, tangerine, malt, barley and hints of mature baked fruit, vanilla and minerals. Voluptuous and deep the oak and barley becomes a little grippy and it develops a slight herbal nuance.

The palate opens with the mature, macerated orange, barley and minerals. The oak displays the same gritty, grippy character that the nose showed, but the gorgeous, juicy fruit counterbalances. Intense and complex with developing notes of herbs and straw on the middle. Long and stunningly juicy with a light Cognac-esque rancio and buzzy wood spices. Breath taking!


Carn Mor Celebration of the Cask Strathmill 1992 (22 year old?) 52.6%

Bourbon Cask 924/ Dist: 1992 Btl: May 2015/ Tasted: May 2015

The aromas are initially quite earthy and straw-like, but then a profusion of orange, lime and aromatic barley erupts! Lightly malty with light treacle and hints of fresh, minty herbs. Beneath lies some supporting vanilla oak along with some edgy but supple spices.

The palate is a lovely mélange of soft, succulent apricot, barley and citrus. Long and lightly toffee’d with a very citric, mineral and although the alcohol bites a little on the finish it does give it a tongue tingling finale!

Carn Mor Celebration of the Cask Strathmill 1991 (24 year old) 46.7%

Bourbon Barrel/ Dist: 1991 Btl: 2016/ Tasted: Apr 2016

Aromas of mature, dusty barley, baked apple and coconut. Hints of lime, gooseberry and lovely supple, herbal spice balance. With time malt, liquorice and dark chocolate appears.

The palate is quite malty and mature with stewed apple, malt, liquorice and gentle treacle notes. Darker than the nose suggests with a touch of tannin, wood spice and sweet barley on the middle. Long and lightly treacly with lingering baked fruit and finally some creamy, lightly coconutty oak. Beautifully mature.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Strathmill 1991 (21 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2335/ Dist: Dec 1991 Btl: Oct 2013/ Tasted: Nov 2013

The nose is quite earthy, oily and a bit tired with hints of vanilla (and cardboard).

The palate again feels tired with some soft citrus. Quite nutty and peppery but a little bitter with the herbal spirit coming through on the finish.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Strathmill 1989 (25 year old) 50%

Code: OMC2432/ Dist: Oct 1989 Btl: Oct 2014/ Tasted: Nov 2014

A gorgeously aromatic nose of orange, tangerine, Satsuma and luscious honey to die for! Full and fragrant with a light perfumed intimation and a touch of sweet barley. Gently but sweetly spiced with a late hint of mature, dusty oak and warm malt.

A poised and luscious palate with layers of orange fruit and honey. Hints of praline and toffee appear but the honey is the star. Lightly malted with a touch of coffee and milk chocolate. Very long with the mouth coating honey lingering and a little, lightly dusty oak joining in! Simply stunning!

Diageo Flora & Fauna Strathmill 12 year old 43%

Refill Sherry(?)/ Tasted: June 2012

The nose is dominated by the herbal sherry cask. A bit edgy with a touch of burnt caramel along with some barley and spice. There is a suggestion of some perfumed orange but sherry overwhelms it. 

The palate opens with the refill sherry and burnt caramel. A sliver of juicy barley pokes its head through but like the nose the sherry cask is the dominating theme. Reasonable length with some spice notes on the finish along with some bitterness from the oak. The sweet barley returns but it lacks the succulence and perfume that is common to Strathmill.

Bladnoch Forum Strathmill 1990 (22 year old) ?abv%

Bourbon cask 2690/ Dist: 1990 Btl: 2012/ Tasted: May 2012

The nose is a lovely infusion of straw like orange fruit with a real fruit skin, herbal, gooseberry intensity. Very herbal now with hints of perfumed flowers, silky oak and did I mention the honey? A gorgeously luscious nose with a bit of bite from the alcohol and a late coffee cream note. 

The palate opens with the luscious straw like satsuma, orange and apricot fruit, all wonderfully, gently spiced. Very full with a piquant middle, but the light honey and sweet barley balances it adroitly. The oak comes through on the finish riding a wave of spice and black pepper. Absolutely storming stuff. 

With water the nose becomes softer with the spice and black pepper showing. There’s a touch of walnut skin, earth and dried apricot. The oak has become lovely and creamy. The palate is much the same with the black pepper and spice emphasised. Very juicy and mouth-filling with the emphasis now on the sweet barley sugar. Still very long and still very nice!

Bladnoch Forum Strathmill 1990 (22 year old) 54.5%

Bourbon cask 2694/ Dist: 1990 Btl: June 2012/ Tasted: June 2012

Quite a pungently earthy nose. Quite alcoholic with a touch of mature honey, old wood, herbs, but it really feels old. 

The palate is oily and old, and I have to say that the spirit is really creaking and has become quite spirit and feels just like an old marc. Yes there is a touch of honey and spice but the fruit has I’m afraid long since gone

James MacArthur Old Masters Strathmill 12 year old 63.4%

Bourbon/ Tasted: Dec 2006

Light, delicate and slightly estery on the nose with light orange fruit, a touch of honey and creamy oak. On the palate it is youthful, smooth and creamy with loads of sweet malt and delicate orange fruit and lashings of soft spice.

A drop of water softens the nose emphasising the vanilla and rounds out the palate, taking the edge of the alcohol and lengthening. Although this may not be the biggest Strathmill I’ve ever tasted it is very charming and elegant.

James MacArthur Old Masters Strathmill 1990 (21 year old) 54.1%

Bourbon cask 101112/ Dist: Oct 1990 Btl: 2011/ Tasted: Mar 2012

A mature nose, redolent of straw-like citrus fruit along with malt and a touch of dark toffee. Quite an earthy nose and not displaying the usual exuberant orange fruit. 

The palate opens with sugar coated citrus, white liquorice, straw and earth. Quite mature and like the nose, not as expressively fruity as you would expect from this distillery. The combination of alcohol and oak tannins give a somewhat austere and bitter finish although a touch of marzipan appears. 

With water the nose becomes lighter, and now some silky orange fruit appears along with a touch of honey. Lightly perfumed now too. The palate is sweeter and juicier and although it is more like Strathmill now with some light honey it still retains a bit of a rough edge and the oak still bitters the finish.

Duncan Taylor Strathmill 1975 (28 year old) 48.7%

Bourbon Cask 1891(?) Dist: 1975 Btl: 2003/ Tasted: May 2005

Wonderfully clean aromas of oily orange fruit jump from the glass with subtle vanilla oak, earth, peach, nectarines and a complexity of wine soaked stone fruits. Medium bodied, like drinking orange liquor, deep and spicy with nectarine and peach. Balanced and tangy with a perfumed middle and this winey orange character throughout. Great length, a superb desert malt

Douglas Laing Old Particular Strathmill 1993 (21 year old) 51.5%

Bourbon/ Code: OLD0164/ Dist: Jan 1993 Btl: Jan 2015/ Tasted: Feb 2015

This has a rather peculiar nose. On the one hand it has plenty of sweet barley but on the other plenty of manure and methane! With time a little vanilla, honey and fresh citrus appears and the manurey notes blow off a bit.

The palate opens with the toasted caramel oak and dark-ish honey, baked fruit, earth and old wood notes. Reasonable length with the baked fruit lingering along with hints of herbs and old wood.


Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Strathmill 1975 (36 year old) 44.1%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2049/ Dist: May 1975 Btl: July 2011/ Tasted: July 2011

A beautifully fragrant nose of orange blossom with some gorgeous honey shot through with a seam of tart citrus fruit. With time the oak comes through with a slightly sawdusty character before developing a slight toasted caramel note.

Soft, gentle and oh so delicate. Opening with orange and tangerine fruit coated in light syrup and liberally sprinkled with caster sugar. The orange fruit become more liquor like as the mature honey flavours evolve. The alcohol adds just the right level of piquancy to stop it become too sweet and in doing so releases a slight herbal note. Superb length with some wood notes and tannins in the finish but there is no let up in the gorgeous, silky, liquid orange. Stunning!

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Strathmill 1976 (35 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2118/ Dist: Apr 1976 Btl: Apr 2012/ Tasted: Apr 2012

A deep and luscious nose. Beautifully fragrant satusuma, sweet tangerine and oriental spice notes rise from the glass. Light pepper, barley, sawdusty oak and crème brulee add to the complexity. So succulent and juicy. Very good.

Luscious and juicy on the palate. A lovely combination of barley and satsuma with hints of dried fruit, soft spices.  The orange become pleasantly creamy towards the middle before the mature oak vanillins arrive and slightly bitter out the finish. However those wonderfully dusty spices linger.

Dewar Rattray Strathmill 1975 (31 year old) 49.3%

Bourbon Cask 1855/ Dist: 1975 Btl: 2006/ Tasted: Oct 2006

A gloriously dense, heavyaromas of orange oils – Wow you can really smell the viscosity. This is sumptuous with an infinite depth of creamy vanilla laced fruit. On the palate it is obviously heavy and oily with sweet, sensuous orange fruit and big wood. Time has melded the components wonderfully – It might not be the most complex of flavours, but the depth is stunning. Do not add water, it kills its density and gives it a gin like botanical note. 

Dewar Rattray Strathmill 1976 (31 year old) 48.4%

Bourbon cask 1124/ Dist: 1976 Btl: 2007/ Tasted: Sept 2007

A wonderful nose of citrus almost winey fruit. Granity hard honey with menthol, orange and creamy butterscotch oak. Stunning balance and depth, loads and loads of menthol and mature honey. A drop of water brings out a grassy Sauvignon Blanc like character along with wonderful lemon and lime notes. 

Lovely, crisp and granity hard candied fruits on the palate, a touch tropical with apricot and malt notes. Water makes it a touch watery and emphasises the tropical pineapple and banana fruit. Still wonderfully delicious though. A lovely length with the citrus fruit being joined by a light coffee note. Probably at it’s best neat as water emphasises the dry, wood tannins on the finish. 

Dewar Rattray Strathmill 1989 (15 year old) 63.5%

Bourbon Cask 10303/ Dist: Feb 1989 Btl: Nov 2004/ Tasted: Dec 2005

Wow, a lovely nose, slightly youthful but showing signs of mellowing. Awesome amounts of juicy, sweet liqueur like orange fruits, quite oily with a slight floral/ grassy note. Considerably more delicate than the Duncan Taylor bottling, but just as good.

Med-dry on the palate with lots of spices – cloves, cinnamon, then comes waves of intense, drying orange fruit, cereals and more mouth watering spices, finishing with a touch of vanilla and a dry wineyness. Water emphasises its winey character and brings out an earthy note. On the palate it softens it, but retains its refreshing oily freshness. 

Dewar Rattray Strathmill 1991 (18 year old) 46% – sample received at 55.9%

Bourbon cask 4123/ Dist: 1991 Btl: 2009/ Tasted: 2009

A very mature nose with a malty richness and a natural honey disposition along with hints of high toned/ floral citrus and botanicals. Over time it moves into hot weetabix territory. Not as overtly fruity as some Strathmills, but with a pleasant complexity. The palate is generous and malted, full of wheat biscuit flavours and a subservient orange note. The alcohol masks somewhat and finishes with plenty of botanicals. 

With water (which is closer to what it will taste like at 46%)

Now we get some semblance of the trademark juicy orange fruit, still very malted-wheat in character. However on the palate that malted-wheat character has developed a slight cardboardy edge to it and is nowhere nearas interesting as the nose would suggest. The combination of wood and alcohol really dry out the finish. So for that reason I’ll have to pass on this. 

Dewar Rattray Strathmill 1976 (35 year old) 44%

Bourbon Cask 1125/ Dist: 1976 Btl: May 2011

A gorgeously juicy orange fruit nose. The aromas are pure orange skin with hints of white liquorice, fern and pine needles and some jaw droppingly, exquisitely mature honey. Oooh this exudes mature honey! Superb complexity with some beautiful, slightly sawdusty oak. 

The palate is delicate with a stunning depth of wonderfully soft orange and exotic fruits along with the honey. It has still retained a pleasant freshness and just enough alcohol to balances the honey. The barley arrives on a wave of delicate oils leaving a mouth coating finish. Amazingly long with a seriously herbal finish which reminds me of a pure, old, slightly oxidised Loire Sauvignon. Seriously elegant!

Strathmill 1989 (22 year old) 58.6%

Refill Sherry Cask 10310/ Dist: 1989 Btl: 2012/ Tasted: July 2012

The nose displays some sharp citrus fruit, accentuated by the alcohol nip. The sherry cask is slightly herbal with a touch of tangerine and some beautiful, clean vanillins. With time it becomes more aromatic with hints of granite and salt. 

The palate is dry and a touch on the tannic side with some lovely dark chocolate coated orange fruit and barley. Sweetly malted on the middle with an intense herbal, mouth-watering quality. The alcohol slightly masks the finish but it finishes with some lovely, warming spice notes. 

With water the nose becomes exceedingly luscious and juicy with hints of straw and lightly honeyed citrus. Wonderfully deep and aromatic with a developing earthy-spiciness and a more subtle sherry character. Soft and creamy on the palate, now showing more maturity – gently oxidised with a cognac-esque dried fruit rancio and a touch of straw. Very long and exceptionally good!

Dewar Rattray Strathmill 1991 (21 year old) 56.5%

Bourbon Cask 4124/ Dist: 1999 Btl: Jan 2013/ Tasted: Feb 2013

The noise is quite dusty and dominated by the Bourbon oak. The spirit is showing itself in a rather grainy light and it feels like a medium aged grain whisky. Maybe it’s a bit long in the tooth, but there is a touch of dusty barley and a late honeyed note. 

The palate is quite barley sweet, but rather edgy and tannic with the alcohol being the dominant theme. Hints of burnt butter and grainy spice seep through but the alcohol feels more like 60% rather than 56%! 

Diluted some oily barley and very mature orange appears along with some milky vanillins. The palate is much the same, mature and milky. To be honest the palate does feel very old now and although there is a touch of light barley there isn’t much fruit left now.