Review 662: Strathisla 1937

Time to taste a pre-war distilled single malt from Strathisla distillery, bottled under licence by Gordon & MacPhail. This was part of a line-up for the 10th anniversary for drankenspeciaalzaak ‘Bij Thijs’ with very special old and rare whisky’s.
Thank you Thijs for sharing this!!

It’s incredible to be tasting a single malt that was distilled in the year that:

  • The Battle of Shanghai was fought out;
  • The Spanish civil war was raging,;
  • Howard Hughes established a record by flying from Los Angeles to New York City in 7 hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds;
  • The Hindenburg disaster: In the United States;
  • The coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth;
  • Picasso completes his painting Guernica;
  • The canned precooked meat product Spam is introduced by the Hormel company in the United States;
  • George Allen & Unwin, Ltd. of London publishes the first edition of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

Lets find out how it performs in my glass.

Distillery:Strathisla Distillery
Region:Speyside
Location:Seafield Avenue, Keith, Aberdeenshire
Owner:Pernod Ricard
Founded:1786
Status:Active
Water Source:Fons Bulliens' Well
Stills:2 Wash Stills
2 Spirit Stills
Capacity:2.400.000 litres of pure alcohol per year.

Expression:Strathisla 1937
Category:Single malt
Bottled by:Gordon & MacPhail - Licensed Bottling - De Luxe Quality
Age:Not stated but +/- 30 year
ABV (% Alc):40%
Non-chill filtered:No
Natural colour:No
Phenols (smoke):+/- 15-20 ppm on barley (after tasting it)
Distillation date:1937
Bottle date:Somewhere in the '70's
Vintage:1937
Maturation:Not stated
Cask number:N/a
Bottle number:N/a
Bottle content:70cl

Colour:
Light amber

Smell:
A savory and smokey whisky from yesteryear with aromas of  coal ash, smoked haddock, kippers, earthy tones, smoked meat, cardboard, metallic tones, stimorol chewing gun (the old ones from the ’80’s), honey, stale damp cellar, sunday roast, green tones (crushed Privet leaves), patchouly, sandalwood, mineral tones (flint, chalk) vegetal tones, coumarin, vanilla, dried flowers, hint of tobacco, subtle leather and antique oak.

Taste:
A savory, smokey and subtle sweet whisky with aromas of exactly what I smelled before (remarkable): coal ash, smoked haddock, kippers, earthy tones, smoked meat, cardboard, metallic tones, stimorol chewing gun (the old ones from the ’80’s), honey, stale damp cellar, sunday roast, green tones (crushed Privet leaves), patchouly, sandalwood, mineral tones (flint, chalk) vegetal tones, coumarin, vanilla, dried flowers, hint of tobacco, subtle leather and antique oak. There is somewhat more sweetness from honey and pear drops and a slight brine accent to it.

Finish:
A medium and savory finish with aromas of grape seeds, tannins, walnuts, coal ash, metallic tones, subtle honey, kippers and old oak leather chairs.

Conclusion:
I’m really flabbergasted by this whisky! This is nothing like anything I tasted before. This is a “what you smell is what you get” whisky. You smell the aromas of, what I imagine, the 1930’s would bring to the streets. It needs some time to open up and please be very careful with adding water as this is a fragile dram. I would advice against using water, but thats up to you.
All in all a superbly surprising and engaging whisky that I will never forget!

What are your thoughts on the liquid in this bottle?