Origin: Speyside (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Sherry
Added coloring: Yes
Owner: Pernod Ricard
Average price: € 90.00
Official website: www.chivas.com
As defined by its owners, Strathisla is ‘the heart of Chivas Regal’, the principal malt at the heart of the famous blended spirit.
Known as Scotland’s oldest distillery, since its foundation in 1786 it has never ceased production except for a short break during the war, which is very rare if not unique in the industry.
Founded as the Milltown Distillery by George Taylor and Alexander Milne, a few decades later the distillery was acquired by William Longmore (later William Longmore Ltd) and almost burnt to the ground, first by a terrible fire in 1876 and then by an explosion in 1879, but survived by adding a bottling plant.
In 1950, James Barclay bought Strathisla on behalf of Chivas Bros, thus ending up with their flagship blended.
Interestingly, the name changed from Milltown to Strathisla in 1870, returning as Milltown in 1890, finally acquiring its current name permanently in 1950.
With a large part of its production devoted to Chivas Regal, the distillery’s original bottlings are few and far between, including this 12 year old, while there are countless independent bottlings – no wonder, given the longevity of its production!
This version of the 12-year hasn’t been on the market since 2013, the current one has a completely different appearance and a lower alcohol content (40%), making these two bottlings different from each other.
Strong component of malt and cereals on the nose, accompanied by honey, peach in syrup, sultanas, nutmeg, cinnamon, candied orange. Slight presence of wood in the background. Rather common but enjoyable sherried notes.
The mouthfeel is warm and spicy, with hazelnuts, citrus, honey and butter biscuits. Pepper. Little evolution or complexity, simple and direct.
Quite short finish of nutmeg, pepper, orange peel.
A no-frills whisky that offers a disengaged but enjoyable drink, perfect for sharing.
Although I haven’t tried it, I have to say that the new, lower-grade version has only to lose by comparison.