Hogshead – Strathmill 11

One of the whiskies from my inaugural line-up for the Explorers Pack is this 11-year-old Strathmill from Hogshead. An Indie bottler from the Netherlands with a passion for finding and releasing exciting whiskies. Toon (the owner of Hogshead) divides his attention between two types of whisky. He releases whiskies that have either had an exceptional finish, or an old-school style of whisky that really lets the distillery character of the spirit shine through like it used to in the olden days. This Strathmill is an excellent example of such an old school styled whisky and it gives whoever gets to taste it a wonderful opportunity to experience the true spirit of this Speyside Single Malt.

A couple of weeks ago I spent the morning with Toon van Rooij, the founder of Hogshead Imports. Because a few weeks before that he had sent me a picture of a lovely looking bottle of whisky, with the name of his company on it. He then went on to tell me that he had released his very own label of whiskies, how awesome is that?! Knowing Toon, I knew he wouldn’t just be bottling anything he can get his hands on either. He is only going to bottle some quality stuff! And thus, I quickly reached out for another interview.

When I arrived in the morning of the interview, Toon surprised me by gifting me this gorgeous bottle of whisky, along with samples from his other releases (which I’ve reviewed on this blog as well). I’m truly in love with the design of his bottles, the old school green bottle and vintage look of the label fit the brand perfectly. This Strathmill was distilled back in 2011 and then aged for 11 years in a refill hogshead. A barrel that should let the distillery character shine through beautifully. Let’s find out how that translates to what you can find in your glass!

Tasting Notes: Strathmill aged 11 years – Hogshead
Stats:

ABV: 48% (96 proof)

Age: 11 years old

Distillery: Strathmill

Bottled by: Hogshead Imports

Category: Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Chill-Filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Nose:

A wonderful floral and sweet nose appears as you approach the glass. One of my favourite candies as a child was a hard liquid-filled candy with strawberry flavour. And that’s the first thing that comes to mind as I enjoy this nose. The floral notes remind me of an hibiscus and there’s some grassy notes in here as well, which makes this dram feel like a stroll through a well kept palace garden. The ethanol burn is very subdued despite it’s above average ABV, which allows you to really get your nose in there. I’m picking up on some peaches as well, and there’s also a certain perfume quality to it. If it were a perfume it could give Dior or Mugler a run for their money (do keep in mind that that’s coming from a whisky geek though). This truly is a beautiful and delicate nose, and I can’t get enough of it.

Palate:

The initial touch of pale straw liquid that hits my tongue reminds me of summers as a child. My favourite ice cream used to be a pear popsicle (Festini for the dutchies among us). Which I would eat by the carton on a hot summer day (if given the chance by my parents at least). I usually did so laying down in the grass after getting overheated from playing football in the blazing sun for too long. And this palate has both a pear popsicle and a grassy note, that combined takes my mind for a trip down memory lane. On the back of the tongue this Strathmill starts to show some teeth, with some liquorice and a slight black pepper giving some welcome complexity to this dram. I could easily see myself enjoying this one late at night, by the campfire, after a long hot summer day. Toon told me he bottled this one at what he considered its perfect drinking strength, and I have to agree with him.

Finish:

The finish is long. Much longer than I expected in fact. Usually, the longest finishes belong to heavily peated or cask strength drams. But with a light and fruity dram such as this the finish often falls a bit short. But that’s not the case here. The pear popsicle and liquorice both remain strong. And though that might not sound like the best combination, it actually works wonderfully here. There are barely any tannins to find in this dram at all, and there’s no sharpness to it either. Some vanilla shows up in the finish as well and there’s even a slight drizzle of honey to top it all off.

Verdict:

I consider Toon a friend and this bottle was gift from him. Which both might indicate that I didn’t go into this review completely unbiased. However, I promised him to do just that. Toon truly cherishes his whiskies and wants the spirit to speak for itself. For that reason, he chose the classic green bottles and the simple vintage labels. Because he wants the liquid to be what catches your eye the most. A coloured review would never do his whiskies justice. And thus, I wrote this article as brutally honest as best I could.

Thankfully that didn’t prove to be a challenge though, as this is honestly an amazing dram and there’s not much bad I can say about it. The nose on this dram is a piece of art, and both the palate and the finish are truly enjoyable. This might not be the most bombastic dram full of peat or sherry, or the most complex you’ll ever taste. But it doesn’t have to be. It’s a lighter more delicate dram, and it’s here to be enjoyed. And enjoy it I surely did! I liked it enough to give it the very first spot in the Spring Edition of my Explorers Pack.

Rating:

91/100

Don’t just take my word for it!

See what others have to say about this whisky as well:

Click here for more about Toon and his Hogshead Imports.

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