The Wood Makes the Whisky – A 1967 Strathisla
Gordon & MacPhail believe that “The Wood Makes the Whisky” .
Gordon & MacPhail have a special book and website www.gordonandmacphail.com/wood to guide Whisky lovers through the Whiskies in the campaign, explaining the flavours of each Whisky and how this relares to the wood.
I tend to agree with this campaign as one thing that slightly irritates me on a distillery tour is when the tour guide explains that Whisky is only made from three ingredients, water, yeast and malted barley. No one ever gives well deserved recognition to the skill of the coppersmiths that build the stills, the craftsmen that construct the mash tuns and the wash backs. But the two who should get the biggest applause is the coopers who build the casks and the distilleries wood manager who sometimes has to travel far and wide to find sufficient good quality cask for their spirit. As the cask gives the spirit 100% of it’s colour and over 80% of it’s flavour, so it is the wood that makes or breaks a fine Whisky.
Let’s taste the Strathisla.
Strathisla 1967 Rare Vintage – Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 43% Alc/vol 70 cl
Colour… Deep caramelised amber
Nose…Very rich with fruit cake that has a smear of marmalade on it, sherried raisins with a little spice nose nip, cups of coffee and hot chocolate sitting side by side.
Taste…Quite a mouth feel with sherry and dried fruits taking control at first, then you get the slight spiciness, a touch drying, rum and raisin ice cream. fry’s chocolate cream bar, smooth and very rich.
Finish…Medium to long finish, spices linger and your mouth is left slightly dry, a very satisfying dram indeed.
This is a superb example of sherry cask maturation, it ticks all the right boxes for me. It is of no surprise that this dram was recently awarded the top prize of a gold medal at the International Spirits Challenge.