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- Brand: Strathclyde
- ABV: 57.9%
Strathclyde Distillery lives in Glasgow, in the Gorbals district. It began distilling in 1928, founded by the owners of the Long John brand. They distill both grain whisky and neutral grain spirit, and are owned by Chivas Brothers (which is an important point for remember for later). This was distilled on Aug 31 1989 and matured for 23 years in a refill hogshead, yielding 261 bottles.
The colour is a medium-dark copper (it is younger than the Girvan I just tried, yet darker). On the nose, rich dark fruits such as plums and dates. Treacle. Nutty, with pecans and walnuts; quite medicinal, too. Very floral, very interesting. Has an "old-school" Scotch quality, a certain meatiness or mustiness that you don't find anymore, but that I've found in old bottles of Talisker or Glen Garioch, or my old bottle of Royal Salute (which makes sense, no question this is in there!) Chocolaty. I love this. Even meatier with water.
On the palate, rich spices add to the dark fruits - cloves, nutmeg, allspice. Lots of honey, chocolate, sticky toffee, and to borrow from the SMWS notes, "cola bottle sweets." Medicinal in the mouth, as well. That sticky mouthfeel I get from old grains is very much here. The balance against the sweetness really comes from that meaty, musty, old-school style. Water improves it - this really works.
On the finish, a little smoky - plus that meatiness comes back. Alive with herbs and spices. Spectacular, the best one of the three. I will soon be doing a side-by-side with this and the Royal Salute!
I hope you've found this exploration of single cask grain whiskies as interesting as I have. Although it's not a style that I gravitate to - I generally find them a little too sweet for my liking - they can be extremely complex and enjoyable. Although Scottish grain whiskies seem to be considered single malt scotch's poor relation, I find them to be much closer in profile to a bourbon, which makes sense if you think about it: mature white dog in a refill hogshead, in a medium-cold climate for 20+ years, and it's going to taste something like this, no? So if you like bourbon - seek out some grain whiskies.