Auchroisk 27, 1988 (Cadenhead’s)


One of my great, unexpected whisky pleasures in recent years was the explosion of fruit in an Auchroisk 24, 1990 bottled by Signatory for Binny’s. Ever since then I’ve been on the lookout for Auchroisks of similar age and vintage, in the hopes of striking gold again. Accordingly, when I was in London for a week in the summer of 2016 and saw this bottle at the Cadenhead’s shop, I had few qualms about purchasing it even though the salesman was somewhat vague when I asked if this was indeed a fruity Auchroisk (“it’s smooth,” is all he ventured; but that was an odd experience all around, as previously detailed). I opened it for my local group’s premium tasting earlier this year and after getting back from our much longer sojourn in London in the spring, I drank it down pretty fast. These notes were taken just past the midway point of the bottle. Read on to discover if it too presented a lot of fruit or if it was indeed the quintessence of smoothness. 

Auchroisk 27, 1988 (48.6%; Cadenhead’s Authentic Collection; from my own bottle)

Nose: Lime peel and a minerally, almost chalky quality. White pepper underneath, some gooseberry and also some muskier fruit (melon?) and some paraffin and some citronella. With time the gooseberry recedes and there’s a sweeter berry note now, closer to raspberry—but it’s the paraffin and citronella that are dominant now. With a lot more time it softens up a little with some vanilla popping out as well. Water wakes the pepper and the citronella back up.

Palate: Starts out mild with some peppery bite as it goes down. On the second sip the fruit pops out earlier but it’s still the pepper that’s the main story here. Very nice mouthfeel at full strength (which is, of course, not very high). Not much change with time except a faint soapiness that comes and goes. With water it’s more peppery still and more acidic.

Finish: Long. The fruit expands here and it’s all of a tropical variety. Not intense but undeniable: kaffir lime, lychee, a bit of pineapple. The white pepper is here too. Water brings the lime to the fore and damps the rest of the fruit down a bit too much; and that soapy/glycerine note that was popping up on the palate shows up here.

Comments: An expressive (though not terribly interesting) nose, restrained on the palate and then a big fruity (though still delicate) finish. It obviously doesn’t have the intense fruit of the Binny’s 24 yo but it’s quite good anyway—close to 90 points if scoring just the finish. Better without water. More Auchroisk primary research needed.

Rating: 86 points.

2 thoughts on “Auchroisk 27, 1988 (Cadenhead’s)

  1. Two and a half months ago, I learned the correct pronunciation of Auchroisk at a private whisky meeting, but I seem to have forgotten all about it. If I was about to order this dram in a bar, I guess I’d just point at the bottle and say “This one, please”. :P Anyway… your tasting notes sound really cool. I can imagine the exotic notes of lychee, lime and pineapple to harmonize very nicely with the white pepper in the finish!

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  2. That reminds me of a recent’ish, questionable customer service interaction. When I was at Berry Bros. & Rudd earlier this year I asked to taste an Auchroisk or two that they had open. While the gent was pouring a taste I noted that it seemed to me that Auchroisk might be one of the few remaining undiscovered gems in Scotland. He responded with a gleam in his eye, “perhaps that’s because no one knows how to pronounce its name correctly”. I realized I’d pronounced it phonetically/incorrectly. I’ve known the correct pronunciation for a while but have always defaulted to the phonetic to the point that it’s what comes out without thinking—it makes life easier in the US when talking to stores on the phone or even in person (ditto for Glenglassaugh, Glen Mhor etc.). I didn’t say anything so as to not appear defensive. Maybe he thought that correcting me would have been rude but I did think that having a private joke at a customer’s expense was also rude.

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