By Richard Thomas
This particular Gordon & MacPhail bottling is from their Distillery Labels series, taken from Strathisla stock. Strathisla is best known for being the oldest working distillery in Scotland, dating to 1786. That was decades before the legalization of whisky distillation in Scotland. The plant is now owned by Chivas, who refer to it as the heart and soul of their company. With its pagoda roofs and antique charms, Strathisla is one of the more popular whisky tourist destinations in Speyside.
This particular bottling is a 43% ABV 10 year old, distilled in 2005, entered into first-fill Sherry casks, and dumped in 2015.
In the glass, the whisky has that light, white wine-like color of straw. Not bleached straw, but the good, new stuff that still has some yellow to it. The liquid, however, shows as anything but light, clinging stubbornly to the glass and dropping few, slow-moving legs.
Continuing that straw theme, the nose is grassy and dry, like hay ready for bailing, with lots of meadow flowers mixed in. Notes of freshly baked apple pie filling and a touch of dry wood round out that outdoorsy scent.
On the palate, the whisky has a velvety texture, velvety and sweet. That gives its vanilla flavor a nice, creamy feel, melding with the continuing apple flavor. This is offset by a certain earthy cocoa note and a dash of gingered, peppery spices. The finish is simple, rolling off that peppery note and leaving a little warmth.
Overall, this bottling is a nice, fairly priced one. Although nothing special, I think it shows some character for a 10 year old malt, and stacks up pretty well against some other malts in the same price range.
$60 in the U.S. and £34 in the U.K.