Strathisla 1937 (G&M)

Strathisla 1937 (G&M)

Last night the members of the Fulldram whisky club gathered in Leuven for the High Mass of the tasting season, our Supertasting. The line-up was pretty impressive, enough to make any enthusiast drool:

My personal top-3 was Brora, Glengoyne and Strathisla, but most people favoured the Tomatin 1976 so that one came second in the general voting. I already reviewed my two winners (close call between Brora and Glengoyne by the way), so we’ll revisit the Strathisla for now.

It was distilled in 1937 (pre-war whisky, always something special) and bottled in the 1970’s by Gordon & MacPhail when they bottled semi-official releases for this distillery. There are at least four versions, of which the darker, sherried Connoisseur’s Choice releases at 43% are more famous than this younger and slightly more pale edition.


Strathisla 1937 (70 proof, Gordon & MacPhail, 26 2/3 fl. Oz, 1970’s)

Nose: quite typical for an antique malt. Starts on lime and sourish orange candy, seamlessly flowing into silver polish, metallics / minerals and waxed furniture. Tobacco leaves, soft honey and leather. A dustiness of old roses. Typical mint. Also a very subtle smoky note, like an extinguished barbecue. Underneath is also a nice hint of berries. The whole is really really subtle though, it needs time and some work to drag it all to the surface which makes the overall experience slightly less impressive.

Mouth: slightly austere at first, with some resin and tobacco, covered in a veil of antiquity. Unfolds nicely on sweet honey, apricot jam and a vague pastry note. Plenty of oranges. Mint and chamomile tea and a very soft salty note. Soft herbs and liquorice, even traces of peat. Maybe not as lively as I hoped, not sure whether this was due to bottle ageing or maybe the first oxidation (the bottle was opened weeks ago for the other Fulldram division).

Finish: rather short, with soft herbs and oranges.

Most reactions to this dram were something along the lines of “so old yet so fresh”. True, but not enough to get an extraordinary score, as it’s all so quiet. Nonetheless a real pleasure to drink, far from tired, and a truly educational dram. Expect to pay at least € 1000 if you can find a bottle.