Weird fact of the day: there aren’t too many official bottlings from Strathisla distillery. In fact, despite Strathisla being owned by Chivas Bros. for over 50 years, it was only in 2004 where the official Strathisla 12 Year Old was introduced to the market. Until then it was all indie bottlings or the semi official Gordon & Macphail bottlings as G&M were licensed to release malt from Strathisla, Ardmore and other distilleries through many decades in the 20th century.
Today we’re reviewing Strathisla 1967 vintage that was bottled in January 2015 after maturing in a first fill sherry butts for 47+ years. Yes, it’s that old a whisky and it was priced quite reasonably when it went to the market. Only G&M with their large and old stockpile of casks that can do it and luckily it was chosen to take part in their “Wood makes the whisky” campaign.
Strathisla 1967 Gordon & MacPhail Rare Vintage (43%, Bottled 2015)
Nose: What a rich and dense nose. It’s pretty heavy with prunes, dried berries and fresh orange peels. Has that jammy/marmalade feel to it, wax and smoke, maybe even smoked wax?, sweet raisins, old library and furniture like visiting the grandparents, light mint spice shows up after a while along with some chocolate and coffee to balance the heavy fruitiness, feels quite fresh and lively.
Palate: Heavy, rich and spicy, lots of sweet dried fruits and bitter spices to balance it out, mint chocolate, raisins, nutmeg and cinnamon, velvety and soft yet thick, ending with gentle sweet and sour spiciness.
Finish: Medium long length with semi dry spiciness, mint again,
Thoughts: Cask magic. The cask impact is clear and present here but I’m amazed at how a fresh first fill sherry butt can hold on and not overpower any whisky spirit after such a long period. A perfect balance between spirit, cask influence and time factor.
(Official sample provided by Gordon & Macphail)