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.  Continue reading

Auchroisk 24, 1990 (Signatory for Binny’s)

Auchroisk 24, 1990, Signatory for Binny's
I passed through Chicago recently and after moaning on Twitter that there was nothing very inspiring on Binny’s website, I found myself inevitably standing in the whisky section of one of their outlets anyway (the branch on W. Grand Ave.). Binny’s has sadly stopped shipping liquor and beer completely. This is a great contemporary American tragedy (and stems from the ancient and ongoing farce of American liquor laws and hypocritical public morality). If Binny’s had not been shipping when I began to take a serious interest in malts I would probably not have developed a serious interest in malts and I would not have a blog now and then where would the world be? Anyway, I went to Binny’s—how can you go to Chicago and not go to Binny’s? And I was glad to see that the store I was in had a decent selection of their recent “handpicked” single malt casks. Brett Pontoni and team don’t make a lot of noise about their selections—no breathless, hyperbolic emails and dubious narratives—but they pick good whisky. And when it comes to ex-bourbon cask selections from less-heralded distilleries there is no American store I trust more. I walked away with bottles from three of them, aged 19-25 (plus a young, sherried Tamdhu). First up, this Auchroisk. Continue reading

Auchroisk 12, 2001 (Cadenhead’s)

Cadenhead's, Auchroisk 12
This Auchroisk is yet one more from my ongoing series of reviews of Cadenhead’s bottles I split with some friends. I’ve quite liked the few Auchroisks I’ve tried so far. Those were both middle-aged (see here and here). What will the story be with this not quite teenager from 2001? As per Cadenhead’s, “[I]n 2011 the character of Auchroisk was changed” with a 72 hour fermentation now employed in place of a 48 hour fermentation. They say that this bottle is “from the old style”. Unless I’m misunderstanding, surely no one has yet tried the new style. If the new fermentation regime was put into place in 2011, nothing distilled from it could be bottled as Scotch whisky till 2014 at the earliest. Or is this a typo and did the fermentation time change in 2001? Does anyone know?

Auchroisk 12, 2001 (59.3%; Cadenhead’s Small Batch; bourbon hoghshead; from a bottle split with friends) Continue reading

Auchroisk 19, 1977 (Glenhaven)

Auchroisk 19 Glenhaven
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.   Continue reading

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.   Continue reading