Auchroisk 20, 1991 (A.D. Rattray)

Auchroisk 20, Rattray
This is the first of two reviews of malts from Auchroisk, a distillery I know nothing about other than that it’s in the Speyside, was founded not very long ago, and that almost all of its product goes into Diageo’s blends. Indeed, this may be my first Auchroisk. I thought I’d tried a couple in the past but my spreadsheet has no record of any Auchroisks. This, my friends, is what is known as anti-information. Perhaps your over-taxed brain had room for one more piece of useful minutiae but instead this is what you got. You’re welcome.

Auchroisk 20, 1991(54%, A.D. Rattray ; bourbon cask #16023; from a sample received in a swap)

Nose: Apples, vanilla cream, malty sweetness. Gets more grassy and there’s a hint of toasted wheat too. With more time there’s more stone fruit and cream (maybe some sort of fruit pastry). A few drops of water pull out some lime and the creaminess recedes.  

Palate: Quite sweet at first but a nice burst of fruit right after–citrus, but also melon–along with a very nice, almost fermented malty sweet note. Gets sweeter with time and the citrus expands as well (lime). There’s also more of a spicy bite; still there’s remarkably little wood for twenty years in a bourbon cask (smaller than sherry butts and so more wood to spirit contact). Quite drinkable at full strength but let’s add a drop or two. I was afraid water might bring out the wood, but no: instead it’s the fruit that expands–more lime but also more sweetness (some peach/nectarine but also white grapes) and cream. Gets sweeter as it sits.

Finish: Medium. The fruit gets more fermented/tropical and some white pepper joins the party as well. A little spicier with water and the tropical/fermented fruit notes get less pronounced at first but then return a little later.

Comments: Seemed like it was going to be just okay at first sniff but this turned out to be really rather nice. The nose is pleasant but somewhat anonymous and it’s on the palate, heading into the finish that it really makes its mark. Still not a very distinctive whisky, all told, but highly drinkable. It seems like this is no longer around; too bad, I’d probably have got a bottle.

Rating: 86 points.

Thanks to Alex S. for the sample!

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