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Probably the most mispronounced distillery in Scotland, Auchroisk (orth-rusk) means ‘shallow ford across the red stream’. Founded by blenders Justerini and Brooks, who sought to secure a reliable supply of malt whisky for their J&B blends, the distillery’s location was chosen for its access to fresh water from Dorie’s Well. The well’s water was used to produce a test batch of spirit at the Glen Spey distillery in nearby Rothes and was approved, after rigorous testing, as suitable for production. Construction began in 1972, with the first spirit run taking place in 1975.
Though primarily used to supply blends, Auchroisk has been available as a single malt since 1986, when a 12 year old, aged in ex-bourbon barrels then finished in sherry wood, was released to market. This early Auchroisk is perhaps the first commercial example of a ‘secondary maturation’, but as no fuss was made at the time of its release, credit was later given to the likes of Glenmorangie and Balvenie, often still celebrated as the pioneers of ‘cask finishing’ today.
By 1997, Auchroisk had become part of the Diageo empire and a 2001 bottling appeared in their ‘Flora and Fauna’ range – a version of which is still available today. However, it is perhaps more common to find this rare spirit in the output of independent bottlers like Gordon & MacPhail of Elgin, who regularly bottle small batches of Auchroisk as part of their Connoisseurs Choice range.
This 2005 expression was bottled at 46% abv and sold for around £50 a bottle.
Smell: Lemon, Pineapple and Coconut, Apple and Pear, a touch of Almond and a little Malt.
Taste: Lemon and Lime, Pineapple, Biscuit, Chocolate and a touch of Pepper.
Value for Money: I’ve found the Connoisseurs’ Choice range to be of a fairly reliable standard in the past and this particular bottling continues in the same vein. It’s a decent age, it’s bottled at higher strength and it’s reasonably priced.
A fine example of how a lighter Speyside can really benefit from bottling at 46% or above. Delightfully fruity dram that suggests Auchroisk distillery has something to offer the world of single malts. Worth looking out for.