Whisky Review: Strathisla 13 Year Old 2003 The Distillery Reserve Collection

Category: Speyside single malt Scotch Whisky

Origin: Strathisla Distillery

Bottling: Chivas Brothers, Cask 62274

ABV: 58.3%

Cost: £70

strathisla-13-year-old-cask-62274

What they say:

Distilled at Strathisla Disitillery on 18th September 2003 and matured in a single first fill sherry butt #62274 for over 13 years before bottling on 25th May 2017, producing 654 bottles at 58.3%

What I say:

I have to admit I am a lot less familiar with Strathisla than I really ought to be! One of the oldest operating distilleries and most picturesque too, even amongst its Speyside companions. Sadly other than the standard 12 year old Official Bottling offering that is fairly prominent in Supermarkets and often can be found discounted to bargain price, there aren’t many other official bottles from Strathisla. One can only assume that predominant output is for Chivas blends? A recent re-vamp of Chivas Cask Strength range has meant that a number of bottlings are now produced under their The Distillery Reserve Collection. This particular expression from Strathisla is a recent Single Cask Edition, aged for 13 years and distilled in 2003. Like many others in this new range, a healthy colour from 1st fill sherry maturation makes these rather appealing to my eye (and hopefully palate!).

Appearance:

Dark autumnal bronze (16/20), medium tears leave medium-fine legs.

Nose:

Dried red and black cherries, cola bottle sweeties, raisins, leather, chocolate, fudge, rum & raisin, a little rubbery/sulphuric – like screeching car tyres, more chocolate, something herbal – cloves, treacle, molasses, toffee, walnut, fig & cinnamon.

Taste:

Sharp and spicy, eucalyptus, clove, liquorice root and pepper subside to reveal rich sweetness in treacle toffee, molasses, chocolate, nutty brazil nut and walnut, caramel, cola bottles (or Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola), fermented ginger, vanilla essence, caramel & dark chocolate crème brulee.

Finish:

Long, molasses, chocolate, dark caramelised woody sugars, mouth coating, rum & raisin and cola bottles.

Overall:

Needs air to relieve this dram of its initial rubbery and herbal intensities, after that it reminds me of overfilling my mouth with sticky sweet cola bottle sweeties or liquorice root – which is not a bad thing! If I had any reservations about this dram it would be that there was little here that informed me this was Strathisla and a lot that told me about the 1st fill sherry butt. A fantastic sherried whisky nonetheless.

Score: 85/100

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