Strathisla 12 Year

Strathisla: 12 Year (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 12 Years: 40% ABV)

Visual: Apricot touched bronze.

Viscosity: A mix of fast thick streaks and a couple of slower ones.

Nose: Honey. Sugared almonds. Alcohol. Heather. Perfume. Water adds wood dust and cinder toffee.

Body: Peach syrup. Alcohol. Walnut clusters. Honey. Roasted nuts. Charred oak. Water adds apples, cinder toffee, treacle and praline.

Finish: Perfume. Nuts. Alcohol. Charred oak. Dried apricot fruit sugars. Malt chocolate. Water makes treacle, liquorice, cinder toffee and custard.

Conclusion: Well, it’s been a while since I danced with a Strathisla, let’s see how well I remember the steps.

It is sweeter than I remember, brings a real thick honey set of notes that make up the base of this dance – it is also surprisingly alcohol touched for a 40% abv whisky that has racked up 12 years in the oak.

Initially this seemed less nutty than I remember – for me that nuttiness has always been the predominant element of my Strathisla memories. However a touch of water, as well as dimming the alcohol fire, also brings out a sweet nutty and praline mix of notes that settles in as a second line of flavour attack…dance steps. I think I may have lost track of my metaphors.

Anyway, pre water there are some rough charred notes, but they are soon smoothed out and overtaken by a darker sweetness that the water comes out – more liquorice and treacle notes amongst the honey.

It definitely pushes heavy the stereotypical but hard to define “whisky” character, albeit with more emphasis on the aforementioned notes. The speyside fruitiness is less noticeable, but shows as a light apple and apricot notes if you add just the exact right amount of water.

I’m still a fan, and Strathisla definitely holds a warm place in my heart due to my history with the whisky, though on a more objective level it is not as complex or subtle as many a Speyside whisky. Instead it is a solid, robust whisky that pushes a very familiar base whisky with its set of a few extra notes added as a twist to that. Still good, but not so showy.

Background: Again, many thanks to Independent Spirit for providing this bottle with a couple of doubles left in it for tasting notes purposes. They are pretty much single handedly handling my whisky reviews at this point! I grabbed a cask strength Strathisla back in my early days of doing notes, but, while I have tried the standard 12 year, I had never got around to doing notes on it. Good time to rectify that oversight then. Drunk while listening to the many Architects tracks on the youtube channel – may have to grab some of their CDs.

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