This was the first single malt release from the Strathearn distillery, which is located in Perthshire. Founded by Tony Reeman-Clark, it started distilling in 2013 on two small Hoga pot stills from Portugal. Then in 2019 came the news that independent bottler Douglas Laing acquired the distillery (while also planning another distillery in Glasgow).
To be honest I find the labels are lacking some clear information. At first I thought it was a NAS statement but the back label explains it’s actually three years old and a 2016 vintage (although the first distilled in 2013 in the front is a bit misleading in that respect). Also on the back label they state the spirit was matured in European oak and ex-sherry casks. European oak supposedly means (small) virgin French oak casks. Batch 001 isn’t really an interesting name either. All these things make me think of it as a trial release before they develop a proper range. Let’s see what the spirit is all about.
Strathearn Single Malt 2016 – Batch 001 (46,6%, OB 2020)
Nose: new oak dominates. Pencil shavings, vanilla and spice. Underneath there is a sweet wave of sherry aromas, like sultana sweetness, caramel, hazelnut and cinnamon. Hints of toasted bread and wet leaves. Some orange peel as well. Pretty representative of the modern sherry casks, with an overlay of new wood.
Mouth: a fairly oily texture, but there’s the same feeling of this pressure-cooked sherry with lots of caramel notes, cloves, crushed peppercorns, nutmeg and chocolate. Twix bars. Hazelnut latte. Hints of bitter oranges and sweet herbs. Although the wood does a good job at covering it up, you still feel the young spirit underneath.
Finish: fairly long, with some big oaky touches, black pepper and orange peel.
This Strathearn single malt showcases the casks more than the spirit. While they seem to have chosen decent wood, it’s slightly overdone. Hopefully we can see a glimpse of the whisky itself in the near future. Still available from Master of Malt for instance, or a sample from TWE if you like.