It’s a great feeling crossing off another distillery from the “yet to taste” list of Scottish distilleries. And it’s even more satisfying when it’s the smallest active distillery in Scotland – Strathearn distillery.
“Strath” means valley and so Strathearn means “the valley of the River Earn”. The distillery near Perth started distilling back in 2013 and is known for using a variety of small casks for the 30,000 liters or so of new make they made every year.
Since there are no official bottlings out there (The special inaugural release notwithstanding), the best way to acquire a Strathearn whisky bottle is to purchase a private cask. I didn’t purchase a cask but Anders, a Finnish friend of mine did purchase such a private cask back in 2014 and I was lucky enough to taste the result.
The Sherry Octave cask was fully filled with 49 liters of unpeated new make on 07/08/2014 and was bottled on 17/11/2017 at 57.1%
Strathearn 3 Year Old Single Cask #115 ‘Sauron’s Eye’ (57.1%)
Nose: Fresh. Malt, sweet dried fruit, pine and mint spiciness. The sherry influence starts in the far background slowly creeping forward a bit with milk chocolate and berries but the malt and freshness still leads the way for a very balanced nose.
Palate: Malt, sour berries, dirt earth with a texture of beach sand, coffee, cinnamon, chocolate, nutmeg, sour sweet dried fruit and oak spices. The sherry isn’t overpowering or cloying as the freshness and malt stays in the game.
Finish: Lingering dry earth dirt/sandy, chocolate and bittersweet spices with sandy texture, dried fruit, fresh and not cloying
Thoughts: I’m not so sure I like the beach sand in the mouth texture, but it sure was different and refreshing. Overall it’s exquisitely balanced with the right amount of sherry influence providing us with a great example of how young whisky can and should be handled.