Next up in our meander through a few North Stars‘ is a cask strength dram from Auchroisk Distillery.
While we tasted blind, with the reveal, our ex-Diageo lady shared how once upon a time it was bottled as Singleton as it was felt Auchroisk (Oth-rusk) would be too difficult to pronounce. This was back in the mid-1980s which also happened to be an early example of finishing as their approach was to decant a 10 year old ex-Bourbon matured whisky into ex-Sherry casks for a further 2 years, before this became a hallmark technique of Glenmorangie.
Was it successful? As a single malt brand, not entirely. And by 2001, bottling under this label stopped with the name changed back to Auchroisk with release of a ‘Flora & Fauna’ official bottling. Followed later in 2008 with release of “The Singleton of Auchroisk.”
In the meantime, the name Singleton was revived as the Diageo ‘brand’ – The Singleton – which has three distinctly different avatars (and distilleries) depending on the market – The Singleton of Glen Ord for Asia (fruity), followed by Glendullan for North America (touted as smooth and approachable), and Dufftown for Europe (nutty marmalade).
Auchroisk 13 year (Feb 2006 / June 2019) Oloroso Sherry Hogshead 51.2% (North Star 008)
- Nose – Wow! Fresh bubblegum, apples – quite a summery greeting. Flower, all sorts of jams, Victoria sponge cake, strawberries and cream, pavlova, marshmallows, cantaloupe… shifting into a touch of port or prunes or something in the darker sherry aromas, perhaps even a hint of sweet tobacco leaf? As it continued to open, just became more and more fabulous in the shifting range of fruity baked deserts with a touch of sweet spices
- Palate – What a contrast! We hadn’t expected such character – spice, licorice, cheese rinds greeted us with the first sip. By the 2nd sip, the sherry influence was clear. Lots of blackberries, strawberries. Creamy, coating the palate.
- Finish – Relatively short but satisfying.
- Water – Definitely has an impact. On the aromas, adding water brought back the floral quality, added mandarin oranges. On the palate it was initially spicier – a lot spicier – with cinnamon, allspice. As it settled down, we thought of old fashioned Christmas oranges with cloves, with a nice dollop of vanilla infused cream!
Overall we were impressed. There was a pleasant complexity to this one.
We returned after sampling the peaty Glenturret 8 year… Sometimes having a sherry dram follow peat, can lead to disappointment. Absolutely not in this case! If anything, we appreciated this Auchroisk even more.
- Revisit – Gorgeous! Vanilla, tobacco, sweet liquorice, lovely christmasy character without being too intensely sherry. Also had a nice nuttiness. And sipping? Simply delicious. In short – Yum! A delightful dessert-y whisky.
No doubt – we thoroughly enjoyed this dram! And would be interested in exploring more…
This Auchroisk was matured in a Oloroso sherry hogshead which produced 280 bottles. I paid approx GBP 67, ordered directly from the fabulous folks at North Star Spirits.
- Nose – An oil-burning Rayburn baking an orange sponge pudding
- Palate – Orangeade Spangles & freshly plundered brambles
- Finish – Nutty caramel with a plum & vanilla compote
We admit, we had to look up “spangles” to discover they are a British sweet. Just like an oil-burning Rayburn! Once we had a better sense of the references, would agree!
What else was part of my North Star latest score?
- Fettercairn 12 year (Oct 2006 / Feb 2019) Refill Barrel 57.4% (Series 008)
- Glenturret 8 year (Dec 2010 / Mar 2019) Refill Hogshead 58.3% (Series 008)
- Inchgower 11 year (July 2007 / Mar 2019) Refill Hogshead 52.5% (Series 008)
- Caol Ila 12 year (April 2006 / May 2018) Refill Hogshead 54.6% (North Star Series 005)
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