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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Single Malt Report: Auchroisk 34 year old 1975 Old Malt Cask, cask DL5522

Auchroisk looks like it's pronounced like some you say when you burn your toast, but instead it actually sounds like oh-thrusk, which I hope helps to explain some of my bad Auchroisk jokes strewn about social media this week.

I'm closing up the two-week five-part Auchroisk reviews with the oldest of the batch, a 34 year old from the Laing's Old Malt Cask range. The Man in the White Fedora gave this cask an utterly-hyperbolic review in his 2012 tome. Of course, he reviewed a 50%abv version of this bottling that's never been seen before or since. So if you're looking to buy that one, you may find it on a shelf next to the magical Ardbeg Uigeadail he proclaimed the 2009 Whisky of the Year, a bottling never seen before or since. The actual cask DL5522 was bottled at 47.7%. Thank you to Cobo for this sample!

Distillery: Auchroisk
Ownership: Diageo
Region: Speyside (Central)
Independent Bottler: Douglas Laing
Range: Old Malt Cask
Age: 34 years (April 1975 - September 2009)
Maturation: refill hogshead
Cask numberDL5522
Limited bottling: 228
Alcohol by Volume: 47.7%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No

The nose starts off with quite a bit of overripe melon up front, then anise and peppery mint leaves in the back. Lots of grain and little oak, except for a hint of vanilla. Tangerine juice. After 40 minutes, it picks up a plum wine note.  The palate is similar to the nose, but with more toffee. The overripe melon and tropical fruits have moved into the background. There's a tart austere (oh that word) edge to it, as well as a young green note. Was this a 5th refill? After a half hour, citronella candles take over. The short-ish finish has roasted malt, salt and a hint of cocoa. A little bit of lemon, some bitterness. The citronella candles are the loudest.

This one gets brownie points for not being over-oaked, nor trying to please the crowd. The citronella note gets abusive after a while, but that can be avoided by finishing the dram before the 30 minute mark. On the other hand, the nose takes quite a while to lift off. My main gripe with it is the oddly brief finish. Yesterday's 18yo Auchroisk had such a long vibrant finale, that it put this oldie to shame when tried side-by-side. Overall this 34yo is certainly a decent whisky, and I'd be happy to drink it again and again, but it definitely exhibits proof that age and price do not necessarily determine quality.

Availability - Secondary market?
Pricing - was £175 back in 2009, dunno what it goes for now
Rating - 84