After yesterday’s review of a 20 yo Auchroisk bottled by A.D. Rattray, here’s another of similar age from a different indie bottler. The bottler is Glenhaven (who used to be active in the US some years ago, but are apparently now defunct) and the whisky is from a different era: distilled in 1977 (just a few years after the distillery opened). Though this review is appearing a day later I tasted it right alongside/after the 1991 Rattray bottling in order to be able to get a good sense of possible differences in profile.
Auchroisk 19, 1977 (54.7%, Glenhaven; from a sample received in a swap)
The label on the sample bottle doesn’t say but this seems quite clearly to be from a bourbon cask.
Nose: Less fruit than on the 1991; this is more earthy and oily/waxy with more than a hint of minerally peat. With more time the fruit begins to emerge (lime peel) and there’s a Clynelishy minerally/waxy quality. More sweetness and some cream here too with time. Water unleashes more wax and integrates the sweet, lime and minerally notes. With a lot more time, the creaminess really intensifies.
Palate: Ah, this is rather lovely. Sweeter than on the nose but with the same oily/minerally quality. A nice hit of lime here too. Again, not oaky at all. What will water do? It adds some pepper to the lime and brings in a lot of vanilla. It also gets far more honeyed in its fruitiness–some kiwi now too and a touch of polished wood to go with it all. Really quite beautifully balanced.
Finish: Long. Lime leading to white pepper and some tingling wood spice. The sweetness lingers. Not much change with water apart from the vanilla sticking around.
Comments: In some ways quite reminiscent of the Cadenhead’s 1977 Ardmore and the Van Wees 1980 Dallas Dhu, which leads me to believe that there must indeed have been some “global” change in whisky making process/materials between that era and ours. Really quite lovely. I can’t say that it is clearly better than the 1991 Rattray though–if you want more honeyed fruit, the Rattray is for you; if you’re into the more minerally action then you’ll be happier with the Glenhaven (if you can find it). My only complaint is that I now think I might need to check out the Diageo special release Auchroisks….
Rating: 88 points.
Thanks to bpbleus for the sample! (Especially for talking me into this one when I was rather uninterested in it.)
You’re welcome. It had been on sale at the W&L Depot for ages before the I bit bullet. After all Auchroisk was one of the most unassuming distilleries of the planet (this was before the special releases) and had an heritage shorter than my own. Needless to say, once I finally poured myself a dram, I quickly came up with an excuse to travel to LA and picked up some more bottles. This experience helped me to get away from the beaten track. If you follow the pack, you always pay top $ (provided you’re you not too late) and only discover what is already thoroughly known.
Got a nice line up of el cheapo Brackla & Cappie Donnie…