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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Auchroiskin' all week: Auchroisk 18 year old 1988 Blackadder cask #8954

This is a curious whisky. I'll list what I've observed. Here's the label, from whiskybase:
It has a different design than the usual Blackadder label, though they kept the font in the same family. The whisky was reduced to 46%abv (not the usual Raw-ass Cask approach), but somehow only 105 of these diluted bottles came from a hogshead which doesn't appear to have been split with anyone. And this is the first "Aberdeen Distillers" bottling I've seen. More do exist and they do appear to be a lightweight version of Blackadder bottlings, like a cross between Signatory's "Vintage Collection" and "Unchillfiltered" ranges.

So, it's a diluted Blackadder from a rarely seen (at least in my whisky shopping travels) range from a cask that may have had serious evaporation or leakage or fell victim to a warehouse worker's thirst. But it is Auchroisk and I'm having some Auchroisk luck recently. Thank you Florin, a prince, for this sample.

(UPDATE: Florin may have explained the weird bottle count issue in the comment section below. It seems likely there was at least a second release of this same cask...)

Distillery: Auchroisk
Ownership: Diageo
Region: Speyside (Central)
Independent Bottler: Blackadder
Range: Aberdeen Distillers
Age: 18 years (December 1988 - August 2007)
Maturation: Oak hogshead
Cask number8954
Limited bottling: 105
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No

Note: as per the photo above, I tried this alongside the whisky from the next review.

The nose is loaded with orange peel, white gummi bears and tropical fruit candy right up front. An undercurrent of brininess keeps things from getting too wild, but it remains fresh and crisp throughout. With time it picks up more lemons and a hint of overripe melon. The palate is malty, salty and tart. A bit sharp up front, creamy around the edges. Tropical fruit candy, sweet limes, apricots and a hint of oak. It has a nice long finish highlighted by peach, vanilla bean, baked pear, apricot preserves and a slight earthy note.

Damn. Whatever happened to this cask, Blackadder might want to (accidentally?) replicate it. In fact, I liked this more than most of the full-powered Blackadders I've tried. It's right up there with Monday's official 20 year old Auchroisk. So don't be weirded out by anything on the label, in fact pretend you didn't even read my intro.

Availability - ???
Pricing - ???
Rating - 87


  1. In my experience, an indie bottler may dilute a whisky if there is simply not enough liquid to fill a worthwhile number of bottles at cask strength. But this 18 year old barrel must have lost quite a bit if they needed to bottle at 46% just to get over 100 bottles filled. This is definitely a testament to the skill of Blackadder's tasters (or whatever they are called) that this turned out so well.

  2. My bottle (finished a few months ago) had a normal Blackadder label, definitely not the one you found on Whiskybase. Also, my notes indicate that it was bottled in October 2007, not August. I suspect they may have split the barrel into several batches bottled at different time points, that would explain the bottle numbers.

    I'm glad you liked this more than I did, I found it "unremarkable, a little hot and acidic". It tasted a lot better when drunk with friends around the pool.

    1. Hmm, that may explain the odd bottle count. Other than K&L's old link and whiskybase's nearly empty listing, there really isn't any info about this whisky online.

    2. I remember an AD Rattray Craigellachie of a few years ago that was split like that, and it appeared both as a 9yo and a 8yo (cask 900072). So it does happen. I'm not quite sure why, other than keeping the cash flowing when in need.

    3. My guess would be cash flow, too. FWIW, Kristen liked this Auchroisk as well.

    4. It's also a demand issue, probably. If they get an order of 100 bottles at a time nobody cares about whisky, the wise thing to do may be to fulfill the order while leaving the rest in the cask to get older & more expensive, instead of spending the fixed costs of bottling the whole cask & then letting the bottles gather dust on a shelf. Unlikely anyone would do that today.