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Strathisla 12 Year Old (flat bottle)

Average score from 7 reviews and 32 ratings 81

Strathisla 12 Year Old (flat bottle)

Product details

  • Brand: Strathisla
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 43.0%
  • Age: 12 year old

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Strathisla 12 Year Old (flat bottle)

The nose is much the best part of this whisky, quite a luxurious aroma, but the finish is disappointing. Nose: Butter shortbread, vanilla, a touch woody. Taste: Butter again, sherry sweetness and a creamy mouth feel. Finish: Medium length and a bit dull, some fruity notes.

I also have this expression at 43%.

I recently saw this re-released in a round bottle with a white label at 40%. I'm sure the finish would be super dull compared to your review of the 43% !


Strathisla is one of the oldest distilleries in the Highlands and has been continuously in production since 1786. The distillery had switched names multiple times in its early days, but in 1951 she regained her original name. Literally meaning "Valley of the river Isla".

The company changed the packaging some time ago. The box in British racing green was replaced by a stylish white box. The bottle has seen a radical metamorphosis. The color can now be fully appreciated in a clear glass bottle.

I sampled the old duty free 1 liter version.

Tasting notes

Color: The 12 year old Strathisla matures partly in ex-bourbon casks and partly in ex-sherry casks. Old gold. Alas, the colour is artificially created with caramel colorant.

Nose: The nose is very subtle. Barley and cane sugar nicely summarize the essence. There are also notes of honey and vanilla.

Taste: It is deliciously creamy on the tongue. Home made vanilla ice cream with dash of caramel sauce. Further up are fresh coconut and apricots. With a very small splash of water I'm getting some white pepper and the slightest hint of smoke.

Finish: short and crispy with vanilla and white pepper.

Conclusion: This Strathisla is a soft all-rounder and can easily compete with a 12 year old Glenfiddich. The mainly sweet flavours make it ideal company for desserts or coffee.

You won't find it everywhere. Specialised liquor shops or tax-free shops are your best shot. Sells for approximately € 35.


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.


About 90% of the production of Strathisla malt whisky goes into the Chivas Brothers blends. This 12 Year Old is one of the few easily obtainable official bottlings. The bottle has a flat shape.

The nose is typical for a sherried Speysider. Loads of honey and sweet malt, stewed dark fruit, toffee and nuts. Soft spices. Hints of oranges and toasted oak. Slightly burnt caramel. Easy going.

It is oily on the palate. Almost creamy, in fact. The fruit is now mostly an orange marmelade with honey and nuts. Touch of smoke. Bit of ginger as well. Soft with just a gentle bite.

The finish is warming and long. Ginger and honey remain in the spotlight.

As entry level malt (well, the only malt) this is a nice whisky. Value for money.

This one positively surprised me too. I did´nt even feel the need add cola to this Chivas ;)


This bottle was acquired sooner than later as the LCBO in Ontario has now marked this as 'discontinued' in its' inventory offerings. The distillery itself is slightly mysterious, in part due to the lack of a website to promote itself. Also it is slightly contradictory, advertising as a "pure Highland malt", but being located in Speyside.

Among tidbits of information gleaned from research of other sites includes the fact that it is the oldest distillery in northern Scotland, dating back to 1786. Additionally, this distilleries' offerings form the basis of Chivas Regal, as the distillery is owned by Chivas brothers.

Without further ado on to the tasting notes, formed over several tastings in a copita glass, without handwarming...

Nose - Floral, fragrant, sweet with notes of slightly ripe banana and pear. Overall very pleasant as the sweeter notes are balanced with a pinch of clove and cinammon, as well as an underlying oak presence. The clove/cinammon was more present with the addition of several drops of water, which were added as previous samplings had a bit of a closed off feeling to them.

Palate - slightly full, but overall light mouthfeel.

Taste - light peat and salt, slightly sweet and grassy. Some honey and pear were noted. The sweet and light notes transferred well from nose to mouth. A closed off sensation permeates for me throughout multiple tastings. I may be missing something, but I am left with feeling that all the notes are present for a wonderful presentation, but for some reason, they just do not assemble fully for the final performance.

Finish - A slightly full mouth feel is created, which transfers to a cinnamon/spice finish that lingers, moreso when water is added. A very slight burn in the mouth and throat, which disipates after a couple of sips, leaves a very smooth throat feel. The pear note carries through, in varying degrees, from nose, to mouth, to finish.

Overall, this dram has many positive elements, but ultimately I am left feeling that this dram never fully opens up. Promise for something great seems to be left lingering in the glass...

@lucadanna1985...as I have sampled this over the subsequent months, the initial impressions for me have stuck, though I do appreciate the potential for this bottle. The price is not bad in Ontario either (not as good as your deal though!), and I can well see this being offered to someone who would like a Speysider with more intensity/complexity than the standard 'gateway' offerings of Glenlivet 12 or Glenfiddich 12. For my personal preferences however, I just can't quite put this into my 'will think of buying again' category.

I quite agree with your review! I would add that the oakiness in my bottle was slightly owerpowering the other flavours at the beginning...now, after several months, the oak seems to have left some space for the vanilla and the spices, with also a little (but very very little) peat...I'm not a big fan, but I saw this in a local store for 19 euro, what else could I do???


I have a love/hate relationship with Speyside whiskies. Many of the ones I've tasted are not according to my tastes, but once in a while I stumble upon as true gem.

Strathisla is one of them. The 12 year old is an expression with a near-perfect balance of smoke and smoothness. From its citrus nose to its palate of dried fruit and the smoothness of the finish, this is a rich whisky that few will dislike.

For me it's a perfect after dinner dram when I'm not quite in the mood for my usual poison, the heavy Islay malts.

Added to my wishlist. This seems like a reasonably priced whisky too.

Yeah, a genuinely good malt.


The nose is meaty and well balanced. Smooth, malty, with a hint of peat and a little citrus. Fragrant but solid.

The taste is smooth, woody and vanilla sweet with sherry notes and just a hint of spice. Gently dries the mouth. Not as meaty as the nose, but still fun.

The finish is decent, full of oak, with spicy overtones and a hint of peat.

This was a surprise gift from my wife. I hadn't heard anything about the Strathisla distillery, but I was pleasantly surprised. Very smooth and meatier than you expect.

I recently visited the Strathisla distillery, it is very much worth the trip, one of the most beautiful distilleries in Scotland in my opinion. Their 12yr old Strathisla also instantly took a spot in my cabinet, I had the feeling it had a hint of licorice in the nose and a smooth woody palatte. In other words, very close in your taste :)

Just as an aside, when I added review, I chose the 12 year old with the flat green bottle - not the bottling shown.

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