april’s malt of the month

Strathmill 1992 Vintage, 16 year old Single Malt Scotch (Signatory)
If the late great Michael Jackson (the whisky writer, not the other one!) were here today, he would proclaim that at the conclusion of a good meal and just before the desert cart is rolled out that, a drop of Strathmill should be poured. It was in his words, ‘The whisky world’s answer to Orange Muscat.’

But even as Michael sang its praises, Strathmill continued to steer clear of the limelight. Unfortunately it still is not a whisky that is known to malt enthusiasts, although I think that it should be! This is due to the fact that as one of Diageo’s workhorse distilleries, the majority of the malt is kept for blending. Strathmill makes up a good share of the malt component in J&B Blended Scotch.

The Strathmill distillery was originally built on the site of a corn mill in 1891 in the town of Keith which is located in the Speyside region of Scotland. It is one of two working distilleries in the town, the other being Strathisla. The distillery sources its water from the River Isla (not to be confused with Islay). Strathmill is unique when it comes to Scotch distilleries. They use a device known as a purifier on the spirit stills. The purifier is attached to the lyne arm of the still (the tube that runs from the top of the still to the condenser) and acts as a mini condenser, allowing the lighter alcohols to travel to the main condenser and forcing the heavier alcohols back into the still for another distillation. The result is a lighter and fruitier spirit.

There has only ever been one official bottling of Strathmill which was a 10 year old that was released in 2001. Very few independent bottlers have managed to get their hands on casks. However Signatory Independent Bottlers did release this 16 year old Strathmill, which is a gem of a whisky. Only 752 bottles were bottled from this refill sherry butt, which is not very much, in the grand scheme of things. It was bottled on the 30th of September 2009 with a partial filtration and at 86 proof. My notes are as follows:


Nose: Sweet malt and orange peel.
Palate: Honeyed and syrupy, orange zest and bright fruits.
Finish: Finish is medium in length with more of that distinct creaminess as the orange fades out.

Altogether a very pleasant malt that deserves much more recognition from Scotch drinkers. At $54.99, you should get a lot more use out of this bottle than you would a bottle of Orange Muscat!




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