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Strathisla 12 Year Old (flat bottle)

Charming and easy...

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@hunggarReview by @hunggar

11th Mar 2014


Strathisla 12 Year Old (flat bottle)
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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My friend and I did a tasting recently and he showed up with a 100 ml sample of Strathisla 12 yo for me. This is one of those ones that I’ve heard of, but never really considered. I’ve always walked right past it in the store. Well, it turns out that this one is quite nice. It won’t blow your socks off, but it’s a good whisky at a good price.

Nose: Light, fruity sherry. Stewed apples, red apple skin, figs, bananas, pears, and oranges are here. There’s a caramel note that seems to blanket the sherry notes and keep them from becoming too crisp. There’s also almonds, oatmeal, nutmeg, malt, and oak. This is smooth and calm, but very pleasant.

Palate: An almost watery arrival that gets creamier as it moves into the throat. Unexpectedly bitter initially, then opens up into big time fruit notes. The bitterness reminds me of rhubarb and young apples. There’s also a decent spicy kick and a good amount of nuttiness.

Finish: What was watery on arrival becomes more luxurious and mouth-coating towards the finish, with butter, butterscotch, and caramel. Cinnamon, baking spices, used tea bags, cherries, orange liqueur, charred oak, and more of that stewed apple come through, too. Medium-short finish with lingering smoke and fruit.

I find myself pleasantly charmed by this one. Obviously, it’s not perfect. I wish it had a heavier abv, a longer finish, and crisper notes. But for a sherried dram it’s immensely fruity without becoming too intense, too sweet and cloying, or too dark and brooding. It holds a balance, and there’s just something that works about this. It’s all rather effortless and easy to drink, with just enough distinctiveness to keep you involved. Ultimately this is complex enough to hold your interest, light enough to enjoy casually, and affordable enough to keep coming back to. I like it just fine.

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