Strathisla 1972 (Gordon & MacPhail)

Strathisla 1972 (Gordon & MacPhail)

Time for another glorious oldie. Gordon & MacPhail released a lot of old, semi-official Strathisla bottlings – just check the beautiful 1977 Book of Kells for TWE for instance. The one in our glass today is a 1972 vintage, bottled in 2013.

It surprised me that TWE suddenly had this on offer in 2021 if I remember correctly. It seemed to be leftover stock, but interestingly they appeared to have a lot of new information that is nowhere to be found on the bottle, like cask numbers, cask types and such. I don’t know what happened here. The bottle also looks newer than 2013, so maybe a re-release? Let’s not break our head over it and enjoy.


Strathisla 40 yo 1972 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail 2013, first fill + refill sherry)

Nose: starts in a nicely dusty way, mixed with mulching leaves. Old style sherry with raisins, gingerbread, cigar boxes and dried herbal notes. After some fifteen minutes it opens up and turns towards orange liqueurs, stewed peaches and baked bananas. Floral honey. Dark chocolate in the background. Great nose, but it needs time.

Mouth: one the one hand there’s still this gentle sherry, with raisins, toffee, milk chocolate and red fruit jam. On the other hand there’s a hint of tobacco juice, leafy oak and a herbal bitterness that give away the high age. One tired cask and one fresher cask, mixed together? Interesting though. Also plums, dark chocolate, orange peels and a subtle charred note. Less fruity than I hoped.

Finish: quite long, on mentholated notes, cedar, blood orange and a hint of cold coffee.

The combination of round sherry and these deeply fruity notes is just great. On the palate the high age shines through, leaving a slightly thin impression with a bitter edge. Not perfect but complex and talkative. You can’t go wrong with old Strathisla. Still available from The Whisky Exchange.