Strathisla 1977 (G&M for TWE)

The Book of Kells label should ring a bell if you’re serious about whisky. This beautifully illustrated label is used by Gordon & MacPhail for some its best bottlings, including one of my all-time favourites, the Longmorn 1969 for Japan Import System.

Now there’s a new exclusive bottling for The Whisky Exchange, although apparently Sukhinder had to fight to be able to use it – Gordon & MacPhail only use it for their absolute best.

We’re trying a Strathisla 1977 which has been maturing for over 40 years in a refill American oak hogshead. Bourbon maturation is rare for old Strathisla, but there is at least one beautiful precedent in the same series.



Strathisla 1977 - Gordon & MacPhail - Whisky ExchangeStrathisla 40 yo 1977 (48,5%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘Book of Kells’ for The Whisky Exchange 2017, refill American oak hogshead #387, 191 btl.)

Nose: those beautiful 1970s Speyside fruits, think apricots, bananas, pineapple and tangerines. Almond oil. Plenty of beehive notes (honey, beeswax) and some rather aromatic frangipane. Whiffs of spearmint. Just a light mineral / earthy touch in the background.

Mouth: very oily and beautifully fresh, on the same lightly tropical fruits (peach, pineapple), apple pastry and fresh mint. Light pepper and hints of mocha. Subtle camphor and hints of old books and damp leafs. Some resinous notes but very little plain oak. Beautiful.

Finish: medium long, malty, oily and lightly honeyed.

This is a profile that you don’t see much these days. It needs some time but folds open very elegantly. Exclusively available from The Whisky Exchange.

Score: 92/100