Thanks to /u/cake_my_day for this sample
Strathmill. Don’t hear about it often, eh? It’s used in blends by Diageo like J&B. It was setup during the whisky boom of the 90s. The 1890s, that is. Used to be a mill. So there’s a few reasons why we don’t hear about them, right?
However if you have that mentality about whisky, I can frankly say you’re doing it wrong. Yes, I know that’s not okay to say in any hobby. It screams gatekeeping. And personally, lately, I’ve been confused as to my “role” in all this. I started out as the silly pop culture guy who drank to write. Now I have reviews and people look to me as some sort of expert. I also suffer from depression and don’t have the best self confidence, so that runs counter to how I feel about myself.
So perhaps I should step back and phrase it differently.
I can say with some certainty a new theory I have without second guessing myself. I’m going to call it the Quantum Single Cask Theory. It goes like this
Given any distillery, and given the amount of casks normally made, and given the types of casks, the freedom of the distiller, the different methods, etc., there will be 1 or greater offerings from that distillery that you enjoy (assuming the distillery is making money). On the other end, the maximum number of offerings ever from a distillery, including all independent bottlings, that you enjoy, is equal to n minus one, where n is equal to the amount of offerings ever out.
What does that mean? It means I have stats homework to get to. However it also means you shouldn’t write off a distillery just because you haven’t enjoyed the majority from it. And you shouldn’t expect you’re going to enjoy everything from a distillery because you enjoyed them.
I’m pretty sure I’m wrong most of the time, but fuck, the above I’ll fight for.
Thus we have Strathmill 35 A.D. Rattray. It’s made for blends, right? Yeah. But it’s different because it’s the one distillery in the Moray town of Keith that’s not owned by Chivas.
So maybe it differs. Let’s see how this single cask works, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Number of Bottles: 179
Cask Number: 1125
Cask Type: Bourbon
Date Distilled: 01.04.1976
Date Bottled: 27.04.2011
Colour: 7.5Y 9/6
Nose: Mango, peach, honey, cotton candy, oatmeal cookie, floral
Fruity. Very fruity. It has that stone fruit/mango flavour that lead me to make mango pie out of a peach pie recipe. And it worked, dammit.
That said, without time, this seems quite simple for a 35 year old whisky. Given time there’s an oatmeal cookie note that makes up for this gap slightly. However we’re not getting super notes here.
Taste: Apple pie, cumin, pecan, cereal, kiwi
Okay, this part starts with a super note (apple pie) having that brown butter, that cooked flour mixed with sugar that some of us are so addicted to since our brains haven’t caught up with the modern diet. And that’s a good thing (the note, not my brain).
Nice nuttiness, though dry and sweet are the main elements here.
Finish: Oak, walnut bread, parsnips, cereal, caramel, tea
Finish has some more complexity to it, with some tannic, sweet, and cereal notes, however we’re missing the amount of sweet before and it’s just dry. It’s long, which is nice. I like the evolution of the nuttiness.
Which is the name of my future sex tape, if you’re wondering. I can’t give up the crass jokes completely now.
Conclusion: Dry, too sweet. Much too dry at the end, and not developed enough for me. I want more from a 35 year old malt.
Yes, I get that they typically use this for blends and this cask just kept getting forgotten. And it’s quite interesting that it made it through. I can see people enjoying it. I can see what’s to love. It’s fruity and has some uniqueness without being weird or out there.
So try before you buy. Your score may be different then mine.
Scotch review #752, Speyside review #212, Whisky Network review #1241