Strathisla 12 y.o. Review

Strathisla 12 y.o.231

43% abv

Score:  82/100


Not a lot to say really.  An absolutely typical, cookie-cutter Speyside single malt.  Though some of whisky’s most iconic distilleries and historic malts come from the Speyside region (The Macallan, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich…), many seem to absolutely flounder under the weight of defining themselves.  Let’s face it…nosed blindly, your average malter would have trouble picking the two big ‘Glen’s’ apart.

Nestled amid this liberal spattering of distilleries in Northern Scotland there are a handful of treasures, though.  Glenfarclas, Aberlour, Benriach, etc.  Strathisla, though not quite in the same league, still produces a fine malt in what is said to be Scotland’s oldest continuously operating Distillery.  Apparently quite beautiful at that.

While in principle it is hard to detract points from a decent whisky without ascribing these deductions to flaws, I can’t help but feel that a lack of personality is a flaw.  And here, sadly, is where Strathisla stumbles.

The devil in the details…

Big juicy red berries lead the charge here.  The nose is absolutely redolent of fruit and honey.  Mild spices leeched from the cask are nearly buried beneath a spray of carnation sweetness.  Almost seems perfumed.  There is something almost like a smear of strawberry jam on this one as well.  All in all…pleasant, though perhaps a touch too perfumed.  Nothing really remarkable here.  The palate is a bit weightier than the nose, I should add.

Perhaps I’m being a little harsh here.  Perhaps not.  I simply expect a reason to go back to a bottle.  If I can’t remember it, why would I do that?  There are far too many exceptional drams out there, and life is simply too short.

Utterly unremarkable, but in no way unacceptable.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

2 thoughts on “Strathisla 12 y.o. Review

  1. Jeff

    I can’t fault you for the score or the read: this isn’t an overachiever. But on a revisit, I found the attack a little spicy and the nose, though dense, pretty inviting. Checking back, I have to admit that I scored this much higher (88), and didn’t find it nearly as bland as you did, given that it doesn’t have a heavy finish. It isn’t saying much, but I would much rather drink this than Cragganmore, Glen Breton Rare or Balvenie DoubleWood, all malts with bigger reputations.


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