Strathisla 12 Years Old (Official Bottling)
40% ABV, £28 for 70cl.
What they say:
Strathisla is produced by Chivas Brothers which is the Scotch whisky and premium gin business of Pernod Ricard – the world’s co-leader in wine and spirits. Chivas Brothers is the global leader in luxury Scotch whisky and premium gin. Its portfolio includes Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s, Beefeater Gin, The Glenlivet, Royal Salute, Aberlour, Plymouth Gin, Longmorn, Scapa, 100 Pipers, Clan Campbell, Something Special and Passport.
Nose: Rich and fruity with a complex array of hay-like aromas, balanced with a dry oakiness.
Taste: Full, rich and hay-like flavours with a mellow nutty sweetness.
Finish: Rich, mellow.
Strathisla 12 Year Old has won the following accolades at spirits competitions in the last five years:
2013 – World Whiskies Awards – Best Speyside Single Malt Under 12 Years
2013 – The Scotch Whisky Masters – Master
2011 – International Spirits Challenge – Gold
2009 – International Wine & Spirit Competition – IWSC Trophy
What I say:
Rumoured to be one of the main ingredients in Chivas blends therefore little single malt output meets the market unblended. I purchased a 3cl sample from Master of Malt for £3.70 as I was totally taken with their tasting notes and this sounded like something I would really enjoy.
Warm russet copper
Leafy grass green, pine needle or cone sap, sweet apple strudel or pan au raisin
Orange and cinnamon this is sweet and full of Christmas spices, however it is a little watery in the mouth [lacking the syrupy texture to compliment the flavour] this ends up being light and delicate and a little soapy in texture like apple bubblebath.
The finish is medium and slightly sweet with further soapy mouthfeel that actually becomes moreish.
Would I buy it again:
Sadly I don’t think so, this seems like a poor man’s Aberlour to me. The nose and flavours are all there but the mouthfeel is just a little wrong leaving a soapiness rather than a sugary syrup. I can taste how this makes a great blending whisky however I am not so sure if it makes an ideal single malt. I suspect increasing the ABV may improve this and if they were to re-launch at 43% or even 46% I would be straight back to it to see if the mouthfeel was right! I will definitely keep my eyes open for Independent bottlings and cask strengths though, as I suspect these may deliver on the finish where this one just falls short for me. I wonder if the soapiness stems from the calcium-rich water source [Broomhill spring] used by the Strathisla distillery, and if there are other distilleries using hard water sources which have such strong influences on the final texture of their whisky?