Strathisla is famous for producing one of the best Sherried Single Malt Whiskies ever. Just have a go with some nice examples from an independent bottler with distillates from the sixties and seventies. Gordon & MacPhail have a huge range of Strathisla’s from those days that have long gone by, but also a lot of other independent bottlers have similar Sherried bottlings. Those Strathisla’s can easily compete with the best Longmorns and Macallans from the same era. Nevertheless, the owners of Strathisla themselves have never done a lot with the brand. In fact, only a 12yo has been readily available and the occasional 25yo. When visiting the distillery and additional 16yo can be bought, but that it! For a long time Strathisla was bottled in a flat dark brown, screen printed bottle, but since 2013, a new dumpy bottle was released. Now we would like to know if the Whisky has changed as well, since the ABV has been lowered to 40%. We also would like to know if the range will finally be expanded. Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard) are the current owners of Strathisla and they could do lots more with Strathisla like they are doing with two of their other brands like The Glenlivet and Aberlour.
Color: Light orange gold
Nose: leafy, malty and dirty. Putty and highly aromatic. Hints of orange skin and vanilla. Creamy Whisky. Fresh cut grass and damp potting soil. Tiny hints of wood and tar and bitter-sweet chocolate. Smells of caramel coloring. Very funky altogether if you ask me.
Taste: Not really thin, but tastes watered down. Still warming though. Licorice. Sugar water sweetness and a distant hint of Sherry, killed by water and (burnt) sugar (coloring). Tree sap and bitter wood. Toasted wood. Hidden toffee-like sweetness. Again lots of notes I can only imagine coming from caramel coloring. A short warming boost in my throat, then a finish with not much staying power.
In essence this is the only official Strathisla on the market. It replaces another Strathisla 12yo, that was around for a long time. It is brought down to 40% ABV, and is still the only version released by the owners. Why not let it stand out more? Why water it down even more, and kill it with E150? Strathisla can be such a great brand, and there is so much you can do with it, so why even bother releasing this 12yo, which is pretty anonymous at best? Fire some managers for incompetence and take a look around and see what is already achieved by Bacardi with Craigellachie, Aultmore and Aberfeldy, with even two more in the pipelines. If that’s no inspiration, what about the achievements of Gordon & MacPhail with Benromach? Just do it people!
Points: 76 (I liked the screen printed bottle better)