Strathclyde 2005/2015 (Douglas Hamilton)
More and more independent bottlers try their hand at single grain whiskies. I’m guessing there are two reasons for this trend. Firstly malt whisky prices are at an all-time high, so enthusiasts are willing to try (more affordable) alternatives. Secondly it is more difficult for (especially small) bottlers to buy casks with quality whisky. So they look for alternatives as well.
Today I try my hand at a young grain whisky from Strathclyde – a Lowland distillery – bottled by Douglas Hamilton as part of their The Clan Denny-series. It was finished in a sherry cask.
Strathclyde 2005/2015 (56,1%, Douglas Hamilton ‘The Clan Denny’, C#DH10867)
Nose: This has been finished in a very active cask, must’ve been first-fill. But the aroma’s are very intense. Sweet green tea, fresh tobacco leafs and hints of menthol. Also luscious blackcurrants, raisins, sweet brown sugar and caramel.
Taste: The tobacco from the nose is also very much noticeable on the palate. The menthol less so, but it’s still there. Spicier than the nose suggests with pepper, cardamom and cloves, but also plenty of cherry syrup, milk chocolate and bitter oranges.
Finish: Caramel, tobacco (a bit more ashy now) with some mild spices.
The prevailing notion is that grain whisky needs to be old to be good. But might that also be because most grain whisky probably doesn’t mature in the best casks? This is an example of a grain whisky that was finished in an excellent sherry cask. The cask influence has been massive, but it makes for a highly enjoyable whisky. Intense, rich and vibrant, but lacks depth for me to rate it higher.
Photo: Master of Malt
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.