TBWC – Auchroisk 12 year 47.9% (CNY Tasting Set)

Auchroisk is the last mini in our That Boutique-y Whisky Company Chinese New Year tasting set. Auchroisk isn’t one of those “we have history stretching back hundreds of years” kind of distillery. Nope. It is a more modern entry into the whisky fabric, built in 1974 for blending – think J&B Rare.

What did we discover with this particular cask strength single malt?

Auchroisk 12 year 47.9%, Batch 7 with 2,400 bottles. GBP 23.95

  • Nose – Dried leaves, herbal sweet, sweet grass, lemon, sweet spice, caramel, malty, wet cloth, all sweet smoke, think chestnuts roasting
  • Palate – Sweet then smoke, restrained yet spicy, herbal – think Underberg
  • Finish – Very dry, more of that nutty slightly sweet element

I honestly wasn’t sure I would like this one… nothing against the distillery but with the lovely summer weather I wasn’t keen on even a lightly smoky dram. Whereas this one so gently curled that element into the mix and was so smooth and easy to sip that any misgiving dissipated! Instead, it became more and more enjoyable… it was completely lip smacking in a delightfully autumnal way.

What do the folks over at Master of Malt have to say?

The zombie apocalypse has returned in the form of the seventh batch of this delicious indie Auchroisk! This one was matured for 12 wonderful years before the folks at That Boutique-y Whisky Company bottled it up at 47.9% ABV. If you look very carefully at the blood-curdling label, you’ll see that, amidst the chaos of finding people to recruit to the undead, one of the zombies has found the time to get his hair dyed. Self care, and all that.

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

  • Nose: Through dry smoke there’s fresh malt, lemon peel and dark berry syrup, with plenty of toffee, coconut husk and brittle.
  • Palate: Warming baking spice adds an initial burst of spice. Lime peel, caramel and orchard fruit bring sweetness. A little salinity and smoke develop underneath.
  • Finish: Delicately sweet with some prickles from ginger root.

Mini Malts – Auchroisk 1996 46%

Up next up in our miniatures sampling was a duo from Gordon & MacPhail from their Connoisseurs Choice line.

From the prodigious Speyside region, Auchroisk was built in 1974 with high necked stills intended to produce a lighter elegant spirit. Today it is owned by Diageo with some official bottlings released under the label ‘The Singleton’ (until 2001) which confusingly now is used for three different malts in three different regions: Dufftown (Europe), Glendullan (USA) and Glen Ord (Asia).

Primarily used in blends such at J&B, you may find it difficult to track down a bottle. Only a few casks have been acquired by independent bottlers and there are very limited official releases such as a 20 year, 30 year and a few single casks.

I previously sampled an Auchroisk 20 year old from independent bottlers Duthies – a sub-brand of Cadenhead. This experience didn’t enamour me as my impression was “dishwater soap meets dry wood”… however I also speculated my sample had become tainted, so was keen to try again.

This time, I went with a Gordon & MacPhail bottling of approximately 17 years.

Auchroisk (1996/2014) 46% (Gordon & MacPhail)

Auchroisk + Glen KeithHere’s what we found:

  • Nose – Initially quite organic, overripe fruit – especially banana, think sour mash, leaves in the spring damp after a rain,  flowers, then a delightful honeydew melon. After airing, revealed fresh crisp pears
  • Palate – What a contrast! A soft, subtle yet delicious peat, sweet, smooth, beautifully balanced, still quite fruity with a nice coating, like sucking on gumdrops
  • Finish – A lovely long finish, sustaining a gentle sweetness

Absolutely delightful! We quite enjoyed how the nose shifted from over-ripe fruit to crisp fresh pears… the taste brought another dimension but above all it was the finish that invited us to slow down and enjoy.

This is no frivolous dram, instead one for a meaningful relationship.

My sipping companion is now a full convert to the “If it is Gordon & MacPhail… buy it!”

Here’s what the Gordon & MacPhail folks have to say:

Without water:

  • Aroma – Fresh and fruity with ripe plum and kiwi aromas. Toasted malt and subtle herbal notes with hints of old leather and aniseed.
  • Taste – The palate is peppery initially with stewed plums and lemon flavours. A lingering milk chocolate edge develops.

With water:

  • Aroma – Stewed pears, banana and grapefruit aromas. A subtle hazelnut and toasted malt edge lingers.
  • Taste – Sweet with cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper. Fruit flavours develop with plum and lychee.

More malt miniatures picked up from The Whisky Exchange:

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Whisky Exchange – Mini malts…

My June 2016 trip to London meant I brought back not only the delightful Finnish Teerenpeli… I also acquired an array of miscellaneous malt miniatures from The Whisky Exchange in Covent Garden, London.

Miniatures

What caught my fancy?

  • The Arran 14 year 46% – To contrast with a Port matured expression waiting to sample in a set of non-standard casks (i.e. not bourbon / sherry)
  • Auchroisk 1996/2014 46% (Gordon & MacPhail) – Tried a 20 year old last year however a G&MP bottling is always a good sign…
  • Glencadam 15 year 46% – Purely as have yet to try one from this distillery… later the Whisky Ladies also tried it
  • Glen Keith 1993/2011 46% (Gordon & MacPhail) – Ditto… haven’t tried so curious
  • Longrow Peated NAS 46% – Loved what I had years ago… couldn’t spare the space for a full bottle yet couldn’t resist a mini!
  • Wemyss Peat Chimney 12 year 40% – Again… simply curious… and know there are more from this range to explore…

Tune in over the coming weeks as some of these wee beauties will be revealed…

Thanks to my London whisky shopping companion, we’ve also dipped into a few other minis too:

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Canadian stash – Duthies Auchroisk 20 year 46%

Ever have something you were rather curious to discover but then were massively disappointed?

Last year my aunt and uncle in Canada made an offer I couldn’t refuse. They are fellow whisky aficionados who run a whisky tasting group in Fort Francis, Ontario and gave me a chance to sample anything in their current whisky collection!

Duthies Auchroisk 20 year was part of the ‘list’ and intrigued me as:

  • Not yet had something from Duthies independent bottler – the sub-brand of Cadenhead
  • Also not had a sample from Auchroisk and 20 year seemed a rather good place to start!

The Auchroisk distillery opened in 1972 and produced its first whisky in 1978. Currently owned by Diageo, it is mostly used in J&B with its latest slogan of Scotch whisky “made for mixing.” Some may also have tried whisky from this distillery under the  “Singleton” brand.

Photo & sample courtesy Whisky Lady's Aunt & Uncle

Photo & sample courtesy Whisky Lady’s Aunt & Uncle

Excited, I cracked open the sample jar….

  • Colour – Light gold
  • Nose – Quite striking, barley, salty, brine, slightly rotten fruit, as it opened more a hint of sweet vanilla, slight dry sweet spices… mostly cloves, then something that is vaguely reminiscent of marshmallows that have gone slightly sour
  • Taste – Very dry, odd undertone of sweet resin, something a bit peculiar, rubber, soapy… the more I sipped the more ‘off’ it seemed
  • Finish – Warm, malt and – don’t laugh – manure

I began to speculate that something from the container tainted the whisky – possible as it was from last year and the rubber seal had become stuck on the glass. There is just something very strange about this whisky. Imagine dishwater soap meets dry wood.

Bottom line – it simply doesn’t work for me.

Here’s what others say:

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