Strathisla / Craigduff


Strathisla distillery lays claim to be the oldest continuously operating distillery in the Highlands, founded by George Taylor in 1786 as the "Milltown Distillery", leasing the land from the Early of Seafield.

William Longmore took over the distillery in 1830 and after suffering  from a fire in 1879 it was rebuilt with a bottling plant.

It was then acquired by Chivas Brothers in 1942 and remains with them (Pernod Ricard) today.


Owned by Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard) Strathisla has a capacity of 2.4m litres of pure alcohol per year and is located in Keith, Banffshire (Speyside) where it is a very close neighbour to the now mothballed Glen Keith distillery.

Many think that Craigduff was produced at the nearby Glen Keith distillery but after some research by an employee of Pernod Ricard, I believe him when he says that this was indeed output from Strathisla Distillery, although Signatory did bottle a 'bastard' malt from Glen Keith under the same Craigduff name. Confused? Me too.

More great distillery info here thanks to Malt Madness

Distillery photos with kind permission by Teun Van Wel




  Strathisla OB

General whisky characteristics: Hay, grassy & leafy



Strathisla, (OB), 12y, 43% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle 


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Old weathered oak, dark amber

Nose: Rich and aromatic. Malt, redcurrant, blackberry, tarragon? hint of Oxo?

Palate: Quite Autumnal, leafy fruitiness. Redcurrant and bramble jam.

Finish: Long with fruit engulfing the whole palate.

Overall Impression: Nice and rich, but quite different. I like it!




Strathisla, 1994-2011, 16y, 55.3%

Batch No. SI 16 009

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow

Nose: Very aromatic, almost perfumed biscuit. Delightfully floral, in fact I wish all my roses in the garden had this aroma.

Palate: Light and warming as it glows and grows across the palate with floral butterscotch.

Finish: This just expands and grows across the palate over 2-3 minutes and finishes with a delightfully floral tingle.

Overall Impression: A gentle, floral delight. This is my kind of whisky!





G&M, Strathisla, 8y, Bottling from 1970's, 26 2/3 Fl. Oz., 70 Proof

Typical cost of this bottle; originally now to


Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Light yellow, gold

Nose: Slow to develop, but steadily offering apple, pear and melon skin. Then further opening to exhibit hay and dried grasses.

Palate: Quite floral with an immediate rush of violets fading to hay and grasses. Almost leafy.

Finish: Medium, dry and leafy

Overall Impression: The flavours are definitely not strong or overpowering, but this has a good maturity which would be rare in 8y whiskies today.



G&M, Strathisla, 30y, 43%

Typical cost of this bottle;

Dram-atics live review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Light amber, rich oak

Nose: Well-aged oak with a dash of fine perfume behind the ears. The floral and perfumed elements intensify steadily over some minutes. Also after some minutes there's a quick burst of what can only be described as perfumed baby vomit, but as I say, this disappears as quickly as it arrived and left me with a well polished, aged oak dining table.

Palate: Smooth and slightly dry with a hint of oil of orange, figs and raisins. An intense oakiness builds but is quite dry, suggesting a dry fino sherry which leads into the finish.

Finish: Quite long with dry fino sherry.

Overall Impression: Don't be put off by that comment about perfumed baby vomit on the nose, this is a decent enough whisky and the nose is actually better than the palate for me.



G&M Strathisla, 1997-2009, 16y, 43%

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale honeyed straw

Nose: Initially quite grainy but soon increasing in intensity and expanding to include some quite perfumed notes. After some minutes this really is now quite aromatic with light perfume and lots of flora alongside grasses, malt and biscuit.

Palate: A slightly watery mouth-feel gives way to lightly perfumed grasses. Also some creamy vanilla (ice cream?) and a hint of rose water.

Finish: Quite long.

Overall Impression: A very good value for money malt with lots of gentle flavours which I would describe generally as light and floral. Well worth a try.



LMdW (G&M) Strathisla, 9.12.1965 - 31.5.2011, 48%

First fill sherry butt No.3473, bottled for Singapore

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich dark teak with a hint of copper

Nose: Aged waxed oak, fresh coffee beans, dark (90% cacao) chocolate and all delightfully floral, almost lightly perfumed.

Palate: For a split second this has an extremely creamy mouth-feel, then a total dryness takes over with an explosion of figs, plums and black cherries. This is massive and very civilised!

Finish: Everlasting and very rich

Overall Impression: One of the two best whiskies for me in 2011. Brilliant, nay a magnificent "Great".



G&M Strathisla, 1970-2011, 43%

Typical cost of this bottle; to

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich treacle toffee with a hint of copper

Nose: Some elements of old cognac or even armagnac, then rich aged oak with the slightest hint of spent match (light sulphur?) But I'm really reminded of treacle toffee or toffee apples on my childhood bonfire nights.

Palate: Creamy rich mouth-feel with currants and prunes served in custard. Also hints of leafy autumnal outdoors in a rich sherried kind of way.

Finish: Very long and ever-expanding

Overall Impression: Delightful and another "Great".





General whisky characteristics: Floral, fruits, creamy, biscuit


Craigduff,  32y, 1973, 53.9% ABV

Signatory "Cask Strength" collection, one of 557 bottles

Single Cask; Sherry Butt 2514

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich yellow, light amber

Nose: Aged oak with linseed oil, very faint currants (dried) and something quite red, by which the nearest I can imagine is redcurrant.

Palate: Very smooth and creamy mouth-feel with peach, raspberry, banana, possibly even these three fruits as an ice cream mixture, speaking of which there's also a hint of the wafer, cornet or biscuit. Something a little nutty in there too.

With 4 drops of water: Very aromatic wood now comes to the fore on the nose, alongside subtle but quite rich fruits. Mainly wood, marzipan and nuts on the palate.

Finish: Medium.

Overall Impression: A very good whisky with time and just a little water.











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