Category Archives: Strathlsia

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar dram # 7 – Samaroli 1997 Strathisla 18yo, cask # 47821


Region – Speyside – 45% ABV

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2015Advent 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: 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.

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2015Luxurious mouthfeel here.  Apple sauce with cinnamon and cayenne bring us to the finish.

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!

Strathisla 1957 (bottled in 2007), Gordon and MacPhail 43%ABV

Speyside region – 43%ABV – £194

Now ain’t this something here?!  My first 50yo reviewed on the blog…  Big thanks goes out to Red for the sample swap.  A few CL of my precious Glenmorangie Margaux Cask for some of his 1957 Strathisla – seemed fair enough.

Not only is this my first reviewed 50yo whisky (though I have had other 50+yo whiskies before), this is my first Strathisla.  Some of these Strathislas are legendary (or so they say).  I’ve had a few friends that could say nothing more than that they could not fully understand what what going on in their mouth as they sipped it – just odd, great stuff.  Hearing this, I could not wait to taste some.

I’m going to move straight into the tasting notes but, as a bit of a spoiler alert, I loved this stuff!!

On the nose — It’s all about crazy right here.  What stops me in my path is a strong sense of dill weed and chives.  I’ve gotten that note one other time in Master of Malt’s 50yo release…  Wacky.

There’s a sharp, bright and lemony quality here as well.  So far, it doesn’t seem like a crotchety old whisky.

Oak influence is here, no doubt but either it (so far) is not over oaked or the addition of water to bring this whisky to its bottled strength of 43% helped to subdue the uber-dryness that is often associated with old whiskies.

A new (now old) box of M.U.S.C.L.E. men figure type plastic-y notes.

Pouring water over stones in a Swedish sauna with a hint or two of smoke in the background.

On the mouth — Lovely high sweetness here (astro-pops, wax lips… tons of penny store candies).

Quite herbal as well (tough to place all of the various herb type notes but, wow.  really nice).

A fantastic mouthfeel – oily yet a bit fizzy-feeling on the sides of the tongue.  Incredibly fresh.

Part of me doesn’t even want to dissect – I just want to enjoy.  But for you, dear reader, I shall forge on!

Fresh fruit platter with sprigs of parsley thrown about it.

Great notes of light red wines, plum wines and fine armagnac (with just a touch of a petrol quality to it.  A quality I often fine in armagnacs).

Finish — Fruity and a tad salty (just a tad), slight smoke, bright and long!

In sum —  Can not consider myself lucky enough to have tasted a whisky such as this.  The quality is amazing – a delicious and well balanced whisky through and through!  If you can get a bottle, I suggest you enjoy and share and do what these guys suggest:

Serge Valentin of WhiskyFun seemed to love this one too.