Region – Speyside – 45% ABV
Advent Calendar day # 7 brings us another Samaroli. You may recall the Samaroli blended malt we tasted in day 3. Cracking stuff (though a bit soft at 43% ABV).
Strathisla is a very classic Speyside whisky owned by Chivas Bros/Pernod Ricard. The regular bottlings of Strathisla are known to be dense and rich (with some good sherry cask maturation) but most of the juice goes into various Chivas blends.
Today’s dram is a Strathisla that spent 18 years in an American Oak bourbon barrel. The color is incredibly light which tells me that this is a refill cask (3rd or 4th use, my guess). The richness of the European Oak sherry cask will likely not be in here but let’s not assume (we all know what happens when we assume).
Let’s try it:
On the nose — Light, delicate, floral… think white tea (Bai Mu Dan). Some hints of sugary Smarties (the US version, not the UK version).
Candied lemon rind, focusing more on the candy and less on the lemon. Clean dry cardboard in the background.
In the mouth — Here’s where it ramps up a bit. Soft peat at the fore with an allspice backbone.
Fennel seeds and shaved fennel. A touch sour in the mid palate and hints of fresh malted barley.
Finish — That cayenne note is solid all the way through this long finish and sticks around as notes of peony and apple blossoms slowly fade away…
In sum — When longing for a Strathisla, I would not reach for this. When looking for a cracking dram that’s solid through and through regardless of origin, this one fits the bill. This is like a complicated puzzle that, when assembled the way it is, presents a wonderful picture. Great stuff people!