Duncan Taylor Rare Auld Strathisla 40 Year (1967)

Scotch Whisky Review #281: Duncan Taylor Rare Auld Strathisla 40 Year (1967)

Distillery: Strathisla

Bottler: Duncan Taylor

Region: Speyside

Age: 40 year. Distilled in March of 1967. Bottled in October of 2007.

ABV: 46.40% Cask Strength

Color: 1.3, Russet/Muscat.

Nose: (according to the wife) There’s a ton of orchard fruits here. You get nice, juicy green grapes front and center. It’s followed by apples of a number of varieties and Korean pears. Really delightful.

Palate: Dusty and musty. It’s like walking into a room full of dusty old bookshelves and taking in a deep breath. There’s a fruity-musty note that is reminiscent of what I’ve gotten in some old Bowmore’s, though not nearly as pronounced as it is with them. Pear concentrate is the fruitier element of that. Then there’s a ton of oak, it’s on the verge of being over-oaked for me with how much is there. With a drop of water, things loosen up considerably. Those orchard fruits from the nose come bursting out with loads of pear and grapes. There’s a creamy note that reminds me of a banana custard. You still get the musty note, but the dusty books are gone.

Finish: Medium in length. Fruity and musty. Loads of oak here, tannins and all, along with a note of old nearly-gone-flavorless vanilla.

Conclusion: Strathisla has the distinction of being oldest continuously operating distillery in the Highlands. It is the workhorse at the heart Chivas Regal. I’ve not had a chance to try it as a single malt so I was quite excited to give it a go, especially given the considerable age. For me there is only one problem with this whisky. It’s teetering on the edge of being over-oaked (I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise given the age), which makes it hard to fully enjoy. That drying note of oak just butts its head in a little too often. Thankfully, it doesn’t completely dominate and the rest of the dram is quite delightful. From the dusty bookshelves to that intoxicating musty-fruity note to the orchard fruits, I found myself enjoying this more and more as time went along. Would I buy a bottle? Unlikely, but I’m sure I’ll reminisce on this in the future.

Final Score: 83.

Scotch Whisky Review #281, Speyside Review #106, Whisky Network Review #424

Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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