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Strathisla. Aberlour sister and Chivas blend house.

Strathisla is what some would call the sister distillery to Aberlour. At least, this is what they call each other on site. They are both owned by Chivas Brothers/Pernod Ricard, so you have the French Flag flying high at both locations. Strathisla was actually The Chivas Bros. first scotch whisky facility. They have now grown to be a major player in the industry. This distillery was purchased in the 1950’s and Chivas needed it at the time specifically for their blends. Many of these blends you have probably heard of and the main one is called Chivas Regal. To this day only about 10% of their 2.4 million liters of new make spirit per year goes to single malts and the rest is used for blends.

They are currently working 5 days per week and running a unique process in the mash tun. Apparently, according to the tour guide, they run four waters instead of the typical three. The temperatures run in a range from 65-90 degrees Celsius. I wonder how this affects their yields and wort? They currently have eight wooden washbacks and run about a 52 hour fermentation period. All washbacks are Oregon pine, except for two. More recently when they expanded, they added 2 additional washbacks and those are made of Siberian lurch. There are two wash stills and two spirit stills. They both had pretty steep lyne arms and only the spirit still had a significant bulge. They do have a few thousand casks on site, but other than that most are warehoused in the Chivas “warehouse park” in Keith, Scotland just down the road. We were able to try not only their Strathisla single malt, but also the Chivas Regal blends, which although quite popular in the states, I haven’t had a chance to try yet.

Strathisla 12 YR

Holly’s Tasting Note..

Nose: Toasted nut, toffee, ripe apple.

Palate: Malt cookie, fruit, sultanas.

I didn’t really care for this one…

Chivas Regal 12 YR

Holly’s Tasting Note..

Nose: Lemon, custard vanilla, banana chips and some oak.

Palate: Dried fruit, walnut, spice.

Chivas Regal 18 YR

Holly’s Tasting Note..

Nose: Raspberry pie, honey, vanilla.

Palate: Oak, spice and nutmeg.

The blends were okay. A lot of people apparently think the 18YR Chivas Regal is just an older 12YR, but they actually consist of completely different grain spirits and single malts.

Next up is Glenlivet..

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