Strathisla 12yo “58.31 – Berried alive” by SMWS (Review)

Strathisla 12yo "Berried Alive" by The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS Speyside Tasting Notes Blog BarleyMania)

When I stumbled upon this bottling in The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s outturn catalogue, it struck all the right notes with me: The number 58 stands for a renowned distillery that rarely finds its way into an independent release (namely Strathisla from Speyside). The flavor profile “Spicy & dry” is not my usual hunting ground – which makes this whisky some kind of a rarity in my SMWS collection. The length of the maturation and the choice of the wood sounded good, too. And last but not least, the Poe-esque moniker “Berried alive” totally appealed to the gothic horror fan in me! So without thinking twice, I placed an order. Once the whisky had reached my doorstep, it did not take long until I popped its cork. Since then, I had quite a few drams of it already. Again and again, it offered a lovely mixture of acidulated white wine freshness and piercing red berry fruitiness. With my imagination inspired by “Berried Alive’s” telling name, I cannot help but think of crimson blood drops seeping onto a white silk veil whenever the whisky’s aromas and flavors unfold in my nose and mouth. An intense, special and very pleasing tasting experience!

by Tobi

Eye: Summer sun – apparently, you can be lowered into the ground in broad daylight, too.
Nose: Dulcet, fruity and a wee bit musty. A lotta juicy grapes. A spoonful of peach marmalade. A scoop of citrus ice cream in a butter cone. Crisp green garden fruits. Some vanilla, a good amount of whipped cream and a patch of old cloth. If “Berried alive” was a casket, the bouquet would equal the silken cushions on the inner sides of the walls.
Palate: Whereas the nose was mostly “yellow”, the palate is as “red” as the blood in a Mario Bava movie! During the degustation, I get ripe raspberries, sugared redcurrants and sour-ish strawberries. Also gooseberries bathed in fresh milk. Instead of burying… erm… berrying me alive in a cemetery, this whisky does so in an orchard filled with berry bushes.
Finish: Towards the end, yellow fruits and red berries mingle with mild spices and polished wood. Syrup, honey and dates leave a long-lasting and very pleasing sweetness behind. The finish is as weighty as a dozen shovelfuls of graveyard earth on a coffin lid!

Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 12 years
Alc. volume: 59.1 per cent
Cask type: Second-fill Chenin Blanc barrique
Code: 58.31
# of bottles: 244
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: ~65.00 Euro
More info: (Bottler)

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