Reviews of affordable whiskies with some entertaining tales along the way…
The Story of Stronachie
The original Stronachie distillery stood in the Ochil mountains near the Perth & Kinross border. Founded in the 1890s, the distillery could only be reached by a treacherous mountain trail that occasionally became impassable in winter. Access problems were resolved when a private railway line was built to link the site with the nearest station at Milnathort.
Stronachie was in production for around 30 years before it was pushed towards closure by the rising price of grain and coal. The building itself was demolished during the 1930s.
During its short life, Stronachie achieved a modicum of success, thanks, in no small part. to a distribution deal with A. D. Rattray. Rattray was a Glasgow-based wine and spirits importer that specialised in blending the very finest Scotch whiskies. The company was founded by Andrew Dewar Rattray in 1868. Today it is owned by Tim Morrison (formerly of Morrison Bowmore Distillers), a descendant of Rattray himself.
Apparently, Mr Morrison was inspired to breathe new life into Stronachie after buying an old 1904 bottling at auction. A sample was drawn from the bottle and detailed analysis carried out in order to determine how best to recreate the flavour profile. In the end, whisky from the Benrinnes distillery in Speyside was deemed the best possible match.
Stronachie was reborn as a single malt brand, available in both 10 and 18-year-old expressions. The 10-year-old is bottled at 43% and cost me a very reasonable £33.
Smell: Some warming malty notes with biscuit, fudge and heather honey.
Taste: Honeyed malt with some fruitiness in the form of apples and pears. Some gentle oaky spice and vanilla.
Thoughts: I’m something of a fan of Benrinnes and often lament the lack of regular bottlings from that particular distillery. I sometimes struggle to find something to love in the lighter, more delicate Speyside drams but Benrinnes (and a few others) seems to offer a more robust take on the region. That’s at least partly due to its worm tub condensers which seem to add a certain meatiness to the spirit’s character. So with the lack of Benrinnes bottlings, it’s quite nice to have this 10-year-old available at just £33. It isn’t the best example of Benrinnes by any means but it’s arguably more interesting than similarly aged, similarly priced drams.
*If the whisky reviewed in this article has caught your eye, you can buy it from Master of Malt here.
Please be aware that as an affiliate I can be paid a small commission on any purchases you make after following links from my page. The whisky is also available from several other excellent retailers.
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