Whisky Review: Strathisla 1953 Speyside Collection
Category: Speyside single malt scotch whisky
Origin: Strathisla distillery
Bottling: Gordon & MacPhail, Speyside Collection
Cost: £10,495.95 from Master of Malt available alone for £1948.56 from Master of Malt
What they say:
Leading whisky specialist Gordon & MacPhail has launched an exclusive Speyside Collection, offering customers the chance to purchase six exquisite single malt Scotch whiskies from some of Scotland’s finest Speyside distilleries.
Established in 1895, the fourth-generation family business is custodian to some of the world’s oldest and most unique single malt Scotch whiskies. Allowing whisky fans the chance to savour an inimitable piece of Scotland’s liquid history, the Speyside Collection brings together 329 years of knowledge, expertise and whisky maturation.
The first release, limited-edition, Speyside Collection hosts a range of flavour profiles, from the fruity and peppery notes of Gordon & MacPhail Smith’s Glenlivet 1948 43%, to the long and slightly smoky finish of the Glen Grant 1949 40%, and the exotic fruit, sherry and crushed almonds flavours in Strathisla 1953 43%.
Showcasing whiskies from across the region, the Speyside Collection also offers Gordon & MacPhail Mortlach 1954 43%, a spicy and creamy whisky, the award winning Longmorn 1967 43%, which is bursting with warming spiciness followed by stewed fruit and citrus flavours, and Linkwood 1972 43%, with its flavours of chilli spice, banana and dark chocolate.
Since the founding of the business, Gordon & MacPhail has sent casks to distilleries throughout Scotland to be filled with new make spirit, before being matured under the custodianship of generations of the Urquhart family.
Developing relationships with distilleries across Scotland throughout the company’s history, the whiskies in Gordon & MacPhail’s Speyside Collection are uniquely labelled using the original distillery labels.
Stephen Rankin, director and a member of the fourth generation of the Urquharts, the family who own Gordon & MacPhail, said: “Four generations of our family have passed on skills and knowledge for matching spirit to quality casks and maturing whiskies for many years.
“The six vintages in the Speyside Collection are testament to our philosophy of producing high quality single malt. We hope malt whisky lovers will be able to enjoy and savour these special Speyside drams.”
The Speyside Collection is available to purchase from specialist whisky retailers at an RRP of £10,500 in the UK. Prices in overseas markets may differ due to local taxes and import duties. A limited edition of 75 Speyside Collections will be available for sale in this first release.
What I say:
Distilled at Strathisla distillery on the 19th December 1953, matured in first fill Sherry butt #1614 and bottled at 58 years old on the 20th of December 2012, producing 258 bottles at 43%.
Many thanks to Tom of Toms Whisky Reviews for sparing a little of this whisky to share with us, read Toms review here.
Dark bronze/copper (14/20), large tears leave medium legs.
Suede leather, tannins, fruit cake or Christmas pudding, dried raisin, fig and cherry, black tea- well stewed, oak wood, toffee sweetness creeps in and develops into molasses and treacle, cereal barley presents as malt loaf, toasted, along with granary/wholegrain toasted bread, reminds me of a cherry and tea loaf cake with some earthiness too like rocket leaf -perhaps a touch peppery then?
Sweet, figs in syrup, treacle, kirsch and maraschino cherries, rum & raisin ice cream served with a mint leaf atop for a touch of refreshing menthol, toffee and chocolate, pecan and maple Danish pastries, peppery spice along with vanilla essence and clove, mace, cardamom all mixed into honey, heather honey, there is something here that reminds me of brandy or Armagnac and I’m guessing it is the more tannic nature of French oak and its similarities to the Spanish oak likely used in the cask here.
Long, spearmint and clove, spicy, tannic wood and tea sweetened with heather honey.
Another wonderful old whisky, more subtle and less tannic than the Mortlach 1954 Speyside Collection despite their similar age. I’m not overly familiar with Strathisla and feel it is a distillate I would like to get to know a lot more or at least be much more familiar with it. This (for its age!) has a good balance to the wood and spirit natures to it with still hints of malty barley & heather honey present. Potentially my favourite of the collection?
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