Monday, August 17, 2015

Whisky Review: Whiskybroker Strathclyde 27 Year 1988/2015

Strathclyde is Pernod Ricard's grain distillery, located in Glasgow proper. While fairly unremarkable as far as grain distilleries go, it does have the distinction of once having a malt distillery within the property - Kinclaith was built inside the grounds and operated from 1957 until 1975.

This whisky was distilled in 1988, aged in an ex-bourbon barrel, then bottled in 2015 at 54.8% without coloring or chill filtration by Whiskybroker. Given my current fascination with blended whiskies, I picked up a sample as part of my last order from the WhiskyBase Shop.

Whiskybroker Strathclyde 27 Year/1988

Nose: mellow wheat, well-integrated oak, fresh toast, caramel, vanilla, a touch of molasses. After adding a drop of water, it becomes more aromatic, like an old bourbon.

Taste: big grain and barrel sweetness up front, fades through floral/herbal esters, mild/tired oak, and opens up to fresher but less sweet grain at the back. After dilution, the sweetness and oak overlap/integrate and there a fudge-y note at the back.

Finish: wheat, lingering oak, bittersweet

Well, that was... something. Thoroughly middle of the road, it has all the characteristics I would expect from a wheat-based grain whisky, albeit without any of the flaws that they are sometimes prone to. The fact that it was aged in a barrel means that it picked up a lot of bourbon character over its almost three decades in oak, so I think this might appeal to fans of mellow wheated bourbons. It's also possible that I would have found more to appreciate given a larger sample - the improvement with water makes me suspect that more is possible. Given the age and current state of the whisky market, the price is extremely fair - the same shop has a slightly younger Cadenheads Strathclyde for 35% more - but it's not quite enough to make me want to bite.

1 comment:

  1. One key difference b/w Scotch grain and Bourbon has to do with distillation strength. The limits are 95% for Scotch and 80% for Bourbon, so generally speaking Scotch grain will be much closer to vodka whereas the Bourbon will retain more flavors from the grain. The same goes for barreling strength, no more than 62.5% for Bourbon - I don't believe Scotch grain has any restrictions there.