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Friday, August 23, 2019

Strathisla 40 year old 1967 Duncan Taylor, cask 1891

Today is the last day I can count myself among the 40 year old population. So I'm going to celebrate (or mourn) it with a 40 year old Strathisla.

About a month ago, my friend Matt shared a sample of one of G&M's ancient Strathislas, approximately 42 years old, and it was fabulous, remarkably rich and industrial and dense at a mere 43%abv.

Today's Strathisla is two years younger than that one, but from a single cask and bottled at full power, with full power being 46.4%abv. This was also part of the Calabasas Classic, and is finally the last whisky left from that event. So, I guess this is partially about ending old adventures and embarking on new ones. Right? Sounds good to me.

Distillery: Strathisla
Bottler: Duncan Taylor
Series: Rare Auld
Region: Speyside (Keith)
Age: 40 years (March 1967 - April 2007)
Maturation: "Oak Cask" (helpful, again)
Cask number: 1891
Outturn: 120 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 46.4%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Coloring? No

Dusty books and old furniture in the far corner of an antique store. That's the one BIG note the nose gives off at first. Then there's something iodine-medicinal and a butterscotch pudding with smoked salt. Then figs, mango juice and incense. The palate is sweet and delicate, but oddly hot. There's Juicy Fruit gum, vanilla pudding, Lucky Charms "marshmallows". Tangy lemons, hints of wood smoke and Band-Aids. It's also very salty. It finishes with bananas and tart lemons. Minor notes of tannins and wood smoke. A lot of salt (bible joke?).

DILUTED TO ~43%abv, or ½ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
More overripe tropical and stone fruits on the nose now. Honey, butterscotch, figs and yellow bananas. A little bit of dunnage in the palate and a rummy vanilla sweetness. It's still salty and slightly woody. The finish is woodier and vanilla-er. Salt and lemons. It gets sweeter with time.

That nose. It's sublime, and best without dilution. In fact, water also starts neutering the palate and filling the finish with wood. The palate is fine when neat, and not that much better than "fine", though there's a significant phenolic element to the palate that tells me we're a long way from current-day Strathisla. It saves the palate from slipping into a more generic territory, and the same element adds yet another facet to the excellent nose.

Next week: The birthday whiskies. And as I write this, I'm not sure what that's going to consist of. Stay tuned.

Availability - ???
Pricing - ???
Rating - 86 (neat only)