Price range: 750ml $56.50 CDN
Nose: A little hot and spirity. Slightly earthiness surounds a core of American oak vanilla and ripe orchard fruits. A sherry backbone punches you in the nose.
Taste: A good mouth feel improves with a few drops of water, gets creamier. Malty sweetness is almost candy sweet, but not to the point of cloying. Sherry influence comes on strong towards the conclusion. Wood in the form of cedar hides in the background and mingles with some earthy qualities. Not smokey in any way, more mineral and metallic qualities. Hard to pin down but pleasant enough. Nice spirit warmth coats all the way down. Typical Speyside fruits and honey vanillas hang about making it a nice experience with the sherry amping up the party. Not quite refined and can be a bit sharp though. Its 12 years going on 8.
Finish: Hot, spicy and long. Chest warming with sherry sweetness coating everything.
Would I buy it again: Well yes I would if the LCBO didn’t discontinue it! Get it while you can.
Would I recommend it to a friend: Yes because $56 isn’t a bad price for any SWM like this.
Worthy as a daily dram: Yes but I could pick a few others that would top this one.
Collection worthy: Yes, its a must have Speysider to complete any shelf.
Comments: I always thought I should have a bottle of this in my collection because its attractive price range (sub $60) and the fact that its the “fingerprint malt” in the Chivas Brothers blends. I first had this malt at a Companions of the Quaich tasting event. I was impressed by the lightly sherried influence’s ability to pack a punch with only 43% ABV. Don’t get me wrong, this is not world beater, but it sure is a nice after dinner sit by the fire and watch a movie with your wife kind of dram...
From the bottle:
“At Strathisla, in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, they have been distilling fine malt whisky since 1786. Little has changed over the centuries; this is still a craft, not an industry, and the fact shows in the quality of the whisky itself. Fresh water from the spring, and lightly peated barely malt, are the only ingredients. Strathisla has been described by an expert as “very smooth, long, soothing”.”
In summary I would describe this whisky as everything that’s good about your basic stereotypical Speyside malt, infused with a dash of sherry, with the volume amped up to 11. Let this one sit for 10 mins in the glass with 2 drops of water before you even touch it. It will ripen to reveal its depth and complexity if given the chance.
Let's see what Tom the peatluvr has to say: