The snow drops are out and Spring is doing its best to overthrow the ravages of winter. With every bright dawn I’m moving further from the heavy and peat-drenched malts of Islay. They have done me well through Winter, but now I’m in the mood for something from Speyside.
In Islay the water sources meander through peat bogs, staining the water and contributing to the classic flavour of their malts. In Speyside, springs burst forth through granite. This crystal water, coupled with the lack of peat to smoke the malting barley, makes the whisky sweet and subtle.
My favourite Speyside this Spring is from the small distillery Strathisla. This cask-strength edition is an intimidating 59.3% alcohol, so adding a drop or two of water helps. On the nose expect vanilla and peaches, turning to delicious cream on the palette, with a surprisingly long and dry finish. In many ways this is a classically styled Speyside, not asserting itself and remaining wonderfully elegant. It is non-chill filtered, giving it a huge body; this is one of the most syrupy whiskies I have tried. The big body that somehow manages to drink so elegantly make this the perfect tipple for early Spring.
Sadly, this bottling is only available at the distillery. It’s a perfect reason to visit.