Strathmill 1993 (Old Particular) Review

“Bitter-Sweet Symphony”

Whisky Review # 827

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Strathmill 1993 - Distilled: January 1993
Bottled By: Douglas Laing (Old Particular Series) in December 2014
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky - Cask # DL 10585 - 320 Bottles
Age: 21 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 51.5% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Refill Sherry Hogshead
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 110-120 (August 2019)
Buying Advice: 😏 You must like Liquid Wood! The price is okay given its age.


Golden Amber (Natural Colour)


The Sherry Cask influence is not overly strong although I do get some Sulphur. It's not too bad though. Give this Strathmill enough time in the glass as it opens rather slowly. The Nose is Fruity and Grassy with some Bitter, Sweet & Mineral notes. It's not too Woody given its age. The Alcohol is noticeable. Still, it's the best part of this Strathmill.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Grass and Straw, Candied Fruit like Pineapple and Pear, Orange Peel, Refill Oak, Dried Herbs and some Sour Citrus (Grapefruit & Lemon).

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Caramel, Nuts, Resin, Ripe Banana, Peach, Stewed Fruit like Apples and Plums, Green Leaves and Wet Stone. A light off-note that reminds me of Cooked Vegetables or perhaps slightly Sweaty Feet.


Bitter-Sweet. Sulphur and Cooked Vegetables remain present. A bit of heavy Motor Oil as well. I do miss a bit of balance here. The Palate is saved by Fruity notes. The Alcohol is not fully integrated.

Main Flavours:

Barley, Yeast, Tinned Pineapple, Ripe Banana, Artificially Flavoured Candies, Cooked Fruits (Apples and Pears), Dark Berries, Refill Oak, Grapefruit, Orange, Pepper, Ginger and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Caramel, Resin, Dairy, Nutmeg, Dried Herbs and Dirty Earth.


Middle-Long. Sweet at first but with increasing Bitterness towards the Dry end. The Bitter Oak notes don't invite you to have another sip. It's been a while since I find such deep Bitterness in a Single Malt. I also find Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Dark Fruits like Berries and Prunes, Nuts, Refill Oak, Stewed Fruit like Pears and Apples, Vanilla, Orange, Grapefruit, Dried Herbs, Cooked Vegetables Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Menthol and Licorice.

Drinking Advice:

Added water does not improve this Strathmill but makes it a bit easier to drink. The Alcohol subsides but the strong Bitterness remains.

Rating: 82.5
Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Good but for this extreme Bitterness.


Strathmill was founded in 1891 in Keith and is a part of the Diageo group since 1997. Almost all of the production of around 2 million litres is used for the J&B and Spey Royal Blends. The only official bottling is a 12 Year old Flora & Fauna. In 2014 a 25 Year old Special limited release was launched.

This Strathmill is certainly not a mainstream Malt. It's Unbalanced and slightly Dirty. So it does show character which is always a plus in my book. So I would have given this Single Malt a higher rating but for this absurd Bitterness. Is it the Cask? Did the Spirit mature too long? Or both? In fact I can't remember the last time I had such a Bitter Single Malt. You won't notice this on the Nose but Palate and Finish suffer greatly. Well, it is as it is. I feel that Douglas Laing could have watched this cask a bit more carefully!


Jan van den Ende                                                                  August 19, 2019

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