Strathisla 1964/2008 by Gordon & MacPhail
Chivas Brothers own Strathisla, but they rarely release official bottlings. The 12yo is widely available, and they have a cask strength series that is released in batches. But that’s about it. If you’re a fan of Strathisla or are looking to familiarize yourself with the distillery, than Gordon & MacPhail is the bottler of choice. Their licensed bottlings with age statements have been 8yo, 15yo, 21yo, 25yo, 30yo, 35yo and even 40yo. And they also have countless of vintage releases, one of which I’m reviewing below.
Strathisla 1964/2008 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail)
Nose: Very sweet and clean, fruity sherry aromas. Some watery cherry lemonade, almondpaste and raisins. The fruity element mainly consists of caramelized apples, very nice. There’s also a saltiness that I can’t quite place.
Taste: Drying and very woody, but not too much. Just the way I like it in old whiskies, and this one is very old indeed. Chewy raspberry and also a nice hint of cookiedough. It has a spicy quality: aniseed, mint and pepper come to mind.
Finish: Spices, cherries surface again. After a while sweeter flavors appear and it gets a candy-like quality. And then finally a hint of smoke. Complex and long, but also lacks a bit of power. Still very good though.
If I could afford it, than I would drink this stuff all day. Very good and very clean also, which maybe makes it a little bit boring. But sometimes boring is good. And in this case boring is VERY good.
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.