5 Today

My first ever review on these pages was a young single cask 10yo Strathclyde from Douglas Laing [WLP90 – see pic], followed eight days later by a 9yo Strathclyde from Douglas Hamilton. As a result of my filling/librarianship obsession, I still have a sample [and more] of the 9yo. Following that, I’ll also be re-reviewing a 36yo Hunter Laing 1977-vintage Strathclyde, that I first featured over four years ago on June 15th 2017. As serendipity has it, my last whisky purchase was a 32yo Strathclyde from Cadenhead’s, of which I’ve just bought a second bottle. The first was rapidly devoured by anyone and everyone that came into contact with it. Today we’ll have all three side-by-side, to celebrate five years to the day the Whisky Loving Pianist went online.

It’s a Strathclyde grain-off.

Given I’ve reviewed and re-reviewed these [first two] bottles before, I’ll [try to] resist any lengthy analysis or descriptor lists. Let’s treat this as more of a comparison review.

Strathclyde 2005 9yo DH The Clan Denny sherry butt #10710 55.7% WB86.86[38] WF89 tom TWR WLP89

Douglas Hamilton is the bottler, Clan Denny the bottling series as well as a brand name used by independent bottlers Douglas Hamilton, Hunter Hamilton, & Douglas McGibbon [any relation?], for single malts, vatted/blended malts, and grains [WB]. There were some beautiful old Clan Denny grains floating about in and around 2008~2014 as I remember it. Don’t see many around anymore, though secondary prices haven’t followed the inflation frenzy of single malts in the main.

  • N: From a cracker of a sherry butt, this is more [SWC Loch Lomond WLP] sherry-direct than the sweeter richer/denser Cadenhead’s bottling [coming up], but there is an incredible synergy between the grain spirit and cask at just nine years. Think of this as a liqueur-driven cocktail in a glass – Umeshu plum wine/liqueur [WLP], gingery raisin juice, and butterscotch meets amaretto,… and there I go again, and I said I wouldn’t list things! Moving on.
  • T: All three of today’s Strathclyde’s are abv-strong, but this one is the punchiest, neat. Thankfully, in this case, water is a dear friend. With a thorough examination of sherry in its own right, squidgy sweet-savoury-herbal > dry-sour delights ensue, Doorly’s madeira-pineapple vibes [a theme/signature?], currant bun-dough mix with a warmness from, er, buns just out of the oven,… and a salty touch seen with the Cadenhead’s bottling. I find this less industrial today in comparison to the 1977-vintage that follows, and yet, on the turn,… Oh my, stop me!!!
  • F: Not only a Christmassy dram, it’s ideal for Easter, birthdays, NYE, Thanksgiving,….. days ending in a ‘y’,….
  • C: I could write a short essay every time I revisit this young wonder. Enough said already.

Scores 89 points


That 9yo is a serious contender for initiating beginners to whisky, albeit watered down a fair bit. After all, grain can be very accessible – something I discovered some years ago when sharing a 1973-vintage 38yo North of Scotland grain with friends & family over the course of a year or so. I should re-review that one day as it easily pre-dated whiskylovingpianist.com. Of course I kept samples back!


Strathclyde 1977/2013 36yo HL Sovereign cask #9912 58.1% WB88.45[13] AWD92 bible ’15:95 tOMoH8

With two reviews already in the bag [WLPns] & WLP288], I’ll be as brief as I can. Beyond a comparative review, today is more a celebratory experience.

  • N: This woody~fungal and vegetal [I’ll stick with my previous ‘buttered broccoli’ note] is a darker/murkier offering in comparison to the 9yo [and the 32yo to come]. Though far more understated & patient/mature, there’s a focused wily energy lurking in the midst, a combo that makes for one alluring nose that rewards due diligence.
  • T: Somewhat congested at first, there’s an initial information overload. Soon settling down to reveal something more woody and spicy/peppery, it’s relatively more savoury in comparison to the other two ‘Strath’s’. The [Palo Cortado-like] sherry peels off to reveal a very clean and intact neutral grain spirit as if the sherry cask was merely a coat, taken off and slung over a chair. Nice coat, however, one which continues to provide some delicious chewy delights en route.
  • F: Where you might expect this one to lift off, it all remains ticking over a while yet, though rum-like spirit and cask remain side by side as if separated by type.
  • C: A good one certainly, but even after 36 years, integration is still in the balance. That nose though, is the top of this ones game.

Scores 87 points


Strathclyde’s colossal still house

From re-reviews to a full bottle review. This 1989 32yo Strathclyde is my latest purchase, procured at Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop in Campbeltown a few weeks ago. There’s nothing better than buying something on a strong recommendation. Even better when you get to try it first, and on Machrihanish beach no less [see pic] – compliments of Mr Swag himself.


Strathclyde 1989/2021 32yo Cadenhead’s Sherry Cask [324 bts] 54.5% WB86[1]

  • N: Flights often start with grain. This isn’t that kind of grain. This is one to end a flight on! Uber-rich sweet sherried [around 2 years] bourbon [3 decades],.. and rum-like too, with hints/suggestions of sweet lime, coconut, vanilla, nutty sugars, a vegetal fruitiness, all number of cooking oils, background sawdust,…. and let’s not forget the raspberry sauce over vanilla ice cream! Another grain for bourbon fans, I reckon.
  • T: We’ve more of that uber-rich, [desirably] sherry-sweetened bourbon > rye-resinous/forthright/driven, warm~chewy [barley sugar/brown sugar & Golden Syrup] spirit with a salty pinch,… moving cinnamon-y/aniseed-y alongside muscovado sugar,…. I imagine the cask jumped out at the master blender whilst they perused any number of casks sitting in those beguiling Campbeltown warehouses.
  • F: Varnished throughout, it settles ever-fresh and still a little sawdusty, remaining [14yo Doorly’s without/less madeira WLP] rum-like again, followed by a subtle mix of dark/mocha and white chocolate, abundant [down-stage] fruitiness [in various stages of plumpness and drying]…, butter biscuits,… sweet [olive/coconut] oil?
  • C: Yet another grooming/gateway [grain] whisky, this delicious and moreish offering has [so far] been a unanimous hit and the high abv hasn’t deterred the enthusiast nor the casual drinker – hence why the first bottle vanished! This one simply works.

Scores [a solid] 90 points


Happy Birthday [ha ha] to me, enjoying the day at the 2021 Whisky Show.





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