Strathisla 16 year old, 55.3%

Price: $59.00 Issue: Fall 2011 Reviewer: Dave Broom

This is one of a trio from Chivas Bros., who every year release limited editions of 500 ml cask strength bottlings from a selection of its estates. These are predominantly only for sale on site or by mail order through www.maltwhiskydistilleries.com.

My pick of this batch. Strathisla's a small, traditional distillery whose make is mostly pressed into service for the Chivas Regal blends. It's a hard to pin down malt, and it's this elusive character that shows here: firm then soft, fragrant then deep. The nose is intense and spicy with wax, nougat, chocolate, hazelnut, and fresh-opened banana. The palate is explosive with real presence and power, whose firm core is softened by honey and poached fruits. Complex is the word. £37