Strathisla 15yo (70° Proof, Gordon & MacPhail, 26⅔ fl. ozs., Pinerolo Import Torino, Circa 1982)

I’m a big fan of old Strathisla’s. When I taste some from the 60’s or 70’s, I’m in heaven. With some old sherry cask bottles around, you can’t go wrong with Strathisla (and Longmorn, and Macallan, and…). Even 60’s bourbon casks are fantastic. So for this one, I certainly had high hopes and I paid some good money to get one. When I bought it at an auction, I thought it would be older than it turned out to be. Just look at that label with its 70° Proof and 26⅔ FL. OZS. The glass code on the bottom of the bottle (SD133) makes it from circa 1990.

I brought this with me on a ‘Genietschap’ Strathisla tasting. After I opened it, and we all tasted it, we initially thought is was a fake. We expected some old bottle effect but there was none, we may have been spoiled with our experiences with those old Strathisla’s but one thing was for sure, this was a disappointment then. Let’s try it again now and see what happens.

Color: Full Gold (Caramel?).

Nose: This smells to me like something that has been coloured with caramel. It smells very rounded out and smooth like toffee. A bit like a blend without the grain. Malty and musty. Dusty and elegant. Fresh, sweet, creamy and fruity and some fresh air from the sea. Candied apricots. Cream Sherry with a smoky and sweaty touch to it. Well it almost smells…old now, maybe even meaty for a brief moment.

Taste: Sweet with bitter wood. Fruit, apricots on vodka. Almonds. It’s a lemonade with some iron in the mix. The bitter component transfers from wood to something more waxy, earwax maybe. At times it tastes thin and easy and can be quite nice, but somehow the top of the taste doesn’t gel with the finish, hence its unbalanced, and that’s a shame for such an old bottle. Definitively some E150a in here.

The nose is balanced but alas the same cannot be said for the taste and the finish. It all breaks down in the mouth.Luckily it leaves you with a warm feeling, so I would say that it’s a whisky for a book at bedtime. Also I have to say that a big gulp tasted better than a sip. If you come across this, don’t but it at a premium price. There are also older bottles around. With a white cap and bottle code SC999. that should be a better bet than this one. Still it’s not bad at all. It’s very interesting and will reward you if you’d only want to work at it. Recommended for connoisseurs I guess. It’s an experience. Still, get one of the older versions!

Points: 84

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