Tag Archives: Strathmill

Strathmill 12-year-old ‘Flora & Fauna’

Bought: The Whisky World, 28th August 2020


80.32/100 – Whiskybase (average from 203 member votes)

Firstly, thank you to everyone for helping my blog reach the milestone of 300,000 hits. Does this make me one of the greatest whisky writers of the present day? Of course not but it’s a bit of an ego boost to encourage me to keep going. I’d certainly like Whisky Den to reach its 10th anniversary in 2023. If this is your first visit, thank you for helping me towards the 400,000 hits landmark!

This Strathmill 12yo single malt starts a short mini-series of three whiskies from the Diageo ‘Flora & Fauna’ range. If you are unfamiliar with this name I thoroughly recommend watching the video below by Roy of Aqvavitae (the Strathmill 12yo is discussed at 9:38).

Strathmill is a Speyside distillery located in Keith, across the town from the better known Strathisla distillery. Founded in 1891 from a former flour and corn mill, Strathmill was originally called Glenisla-Glenlivet. The name Strathmill means ‘the mill in the valley’. The distillery wasn’t known for single malts as the output was used exclusively for blends such as J&B but in 1993 Oddbins released an expression distilled in 1980. This was the first single malt released from the distillery for nearly 90 years!

Output from Strathmill is primarily unpeated and ex-bourbon. The 12-year-old is of this ilk and a good example of the house style. Scoring just over 80/100 on Whiskybase is a reasonable mark but not one that suggests this will blow your mind or become your favourite tipple of all time. But if you’ve never tried Strathmill it’s a good place to start (Roy certainly likes it!). Comments online include “simple, but very pleasant, quite rich and dense for its years”, “pleasantly fresh and soft whisky with alternating acidity and sweetness of citrus fruits” and “all in all a nice enough whisky that will not offend anyone”.

Tasting notes from Master of Malt:

Nose: quite soft yet very fruity. A hint of grassy greenness with a nuttiness, there are notes of cut herbs and apples, hints of cut hay.

Palate: silken smooth in delivery. Notes of winter spice and vanilla custard, there is a nutty oiliness which carries everything gentle.

Finish: soft and slightly herbal with a peppered delivery.

Here’s Roy of Aqvavitae with his thoughts about the Flora & Fauna range on YouTube (April 2018):

Strathmill 22-year-old – Whisky Broker

Bought: Whisky Broker, 4th February 2016

82/100 – Whiskybase (from 1 member vote)

This is my third small example of Strathmill in my collection but the first at cask strength, clocking in with a heady 54.6%. Since its beginnings in 1891 Strathmill distillery was focused on producing blending malt so examples of single malts are rare; Whiskybase only list 6 distillery releases but 56 by numerous independent bottlers.

The house style of Strathmill whisky is medium-bodied, fragrant, fruity, spicy and sweet. Scoring 82/100 on Whiskybase from one member, they say of the taste “sulphur but its ok, I’m going with it. There’s a deep-bitter, oak charring that starts us off but gradually the barley fights back.” And summarise with “messy and somewhat unorthodox, and yet kind of fabulous. Underneath all that charring could be a less than pretty malt. As it is it kind of works, so I’m giving this the benefit of the doubt.”

It doesn’t sound like the best ever example of Strathmill but for £6.50 for a miniature I’m not complaining.

Strathmill 22yo 5cl

Strathmill 1985 11-year-old

Bought: Online Whisky Auction, 19th June 2015

81.5/100 – Whiskybase (average from 4 member votes)

30 years ago, in a Speyside distillery, a whisky was put to bed in a cask where it slept for 11 years. Some mornings the staff at Strathmill could almost hear it snoring. When it was awake it was quietly lapping the flavour out of the barrel. Eventually the independent bottlers Signatory bought the cask and bottled it up in 1996. The Whiskybase link leads to the full 70cl bottle but I have a miniature, number 2004 of 2460.

Single malts from Strathmill aren’t exactly common but in 1993 Oddbins bottled an expression from 1980 which kick-started independent bottlings from then on. The house style is fruity, spicy, sweet, medium-bodied and fragrant. The whisky is unpeated and usually stored in ex-bourbon casks.

Strathmill 1985 11yo 5cl

Strathmill 1990 (Carn Mor c.19-year-old)

Bought – Single Malts Direct, 3rd October 2013

79/100 – Whiskybase (average from 2 member votes)

This Strathmill is part of the 24 x 20cl bottles that make up the Carn Mor Vintage Collection. Distilled in 1990 and bottled in 2009, it’s from a limited edition of 1260, Cask No: 2400. Non-chill filtered,  no added colour and 46%, so the makings of something very delightful! 79/100 on Whiskybase is a reasonable score but I would have hoped for something higher from a 19yo.

Strathmill 1990 Carn Mor 20cl