Single malt whisky - tasting notes

17 May 2011

Strathisla 1963 (G&M for The Whisky Fair)

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Strathisla

Whisky FairEach year, a few special bottles are released to celebrate The Whisky Fair in Limburg. One of them was a Strathisla distilled 21/02/1963 and bottled 24/03/2011 by Gordon & MacPhail. A similar Strathisla 1960 was bottled last year.



Strathisla 1963 G&M for Whisky FairStrathisla 48 yo 1963 (51,8%,
Gordon & MacPhail for The Whisky Fair,
Book of Kells, first fill sherry butt #576)

Nose: the first thing that struck me is a wonderful “green” herbalness. Not the most common herbs, but cardamom, parsley, dill. Cough syrup. At times it reminded me more of old rum (more specifically the Long Pond 1941 cask #76 by G&M) than of old whisky, but after a while it changes and comes back to typical sherried whisky aromas: dried fruits, old leather with a faint meaty note. Wax. Mineral notes. A little mint sauce. Mushrooms. Dusty cedar wood. But all very subtle. Impressive complexity and difficult to express in words. Mouth: beautiful sherry influence, dried apricots, resin, hints of forest fruits and raspberries. Almonds. Quite dry but no prominent herbal notes this time. A little cocoa. Oranges. Nicely balanced oak and intense fruits. Finish: dry, long, with spices, liquorice, faint nutty notes and lingering dried fruits.

Strahisla is the champion when it comes to extremely long maturation, and Gordon & MacPhail have the best casks. Nice selection, even better than the 1960 bottled last year!
€ 300 is a heavy price, but worth it in my opinion.

Score: 93/100

ps/ some other people thought the nose was a slight setback,
so be sure to form your own opinion.

Strathisla 1963 (G&M for The Whisky Fair) 5 Ruben Luyten 2011-05-17
  • MARS

    The “Long Pond 1941 cask #76 by G&M” is one of the worst alcoholic beverage I have have drink.
    But it is a sample from lindores last year. (some problem with the sample is always possible. But I found on the web someone whos found the same aromas as me)

    That’s said, many people tell me very good things about this strathisla.

  • Ruben

    There’s nothing wrong with your sample, I know plenty of other people who think the Long Pond is disgusting. It’s because of the weird cumin / dill / olive tapenade notes. I think it’s the weirdest drink I’ve ever had, but by far not the worst. Don’t worry about my comparison too much, this Strathisla is only marginally similar but it does have a certain herbal / savoury touch.

  • Kenneth

    Hi Ruben.

    Do you know any details concerning the series “book of Kells”?

    I have recently bought a Longmorn 1964, which is a dister cask of a private collection bottling. The dram is stunning, but I can’t help wondering why the two casks were bottled with different labels – is one thought superior to the other?

    Thanks for all the fab reviews!


  • Ruben

    As far as I know, both series are used for bottling old & rare whisky. There shouldn’t be a difference in quality, it’s just that “Private Stock” whiskies are personally selected by the directors of G&M.
    The “Book of Kells” range isn’t even mentioned on the G&M website – I think they are always released for an external party like Whisky Fair or LMdW. An exclusive white label so to speak?



December 2015
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Coming up

  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1934 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.