Strathmill is one of the most underestimated whiskies today. I remember aweful bottlings of Strathmill in the eighties and early nineties (e.g., the Signatory Wildlife) and most probably drinkers gave up on this distillery for that. But during the last years a number of excellent bottlings of 20+years old Strathmill distilled around 1990/1 entered the market and I became a real fan of this distillery. It produces a subtle and delicate whisky with lots of different aromas, a firm body and usually a long finish. But if you look for quick and bold impressions in your whisky - stay away.
Strathmill whiskies are balanced, delicate and do not own a powerful spiked profile like so many of the modern "designed" drams. This is exactly what blenders prefer (Strathmill produces malt for Diageo blends only). When I visited Stratmill during the Speyside Whisky Festival this spring I recognised a small sign behind the stills that tells the stillman "the desired Strathmill profile is grassy/floral".
This bottling is a good example of this, nicely enhanced with a great PX finish. It is very, very quaffable (provided you like PX sherry). I can easily drink several drams an evening without getting bored.
[November, 2019] I opened another bottle that I bought for 117 Euro in June, 2015 and do a proper tasting note now.
The colour is russetmuscat and the nose offers a somewhat shy profile first but it opens up after significant breathing time. Now it offers a balanced mix of grassy-floral malt, winey-leathery PX and spicy-herbal wooden aromas. I really enjoy to sniff this profile even if it is not very impressive in terms of "oompf". But it is very interesting to explore with a lot of unusual aromas to detect (e.g., both vegetable and machine oils, old and new leather, bandages).
The taste is nicely layered on grassy and oily flavours first (wow, you rarely find these combo in modern drams) before the barley sugars kick in and sweeten the taste. Next are the sherry flavours (plums, figs, raisins, nuts, chocolate...) and some bitter herbal and autumn floral impressions which create a real complex mix now. The spices and the wood are rather shy but they lurk in the background all the time. In addition there are leathery, machine oily and waxy notes (and many more).
The dram arrives warming and coating on the palate with a fine creamy texture and no distracting moments. The finish is of medium length and turns sweeter hence more quaffable without any bitter or drying moments. A minor cardboardy impression pops up towards the very end which is a little distracting, unfortunately. Water is not needed as it just flattens the dram.