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Thursday, January 9, 2020

Auchroisk 24 year old 1990 van Wees The Ultimate, cask 13829

I was going to do one "Three Speyside As" post, but each one of the three As was its own beast. So here we go, continuing the five-post week...

Two and a half years ago, I encouraged Columbus Scotch Night to include one twenty-something Auchroisk in an upcoming tasting. They did. The whisky was not loved. And skepticism of my choices began.

Anyway, I like 20+ year old Auchroisk. It's a quirky malt in its youth, but takes to age very well. The van Wees folks have bottled four well-aged 1990 casks of Auchroisk in their The Ultimate range. Three were hoggies, the fourth (this one) was from a refill sherry butt.

Distillery: Auchroisk
Ownership: Diageo
Region: Speyside (Central)
Bottler: van Wees (The Ultimate series)
Age: 24 years (15 August 1990 - 23 July 2015)
Maturation: refill sherry butt
Cask number13829
Limited bottling: 630
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No

The nose starts with a big farmy whooof. It's kinda Ben Nevish. There's moss, dunnage and yeast, yet there are also flowers and citrus zests. Some dried berry notes (from the cask?) appear after 30 minutes. Moss and musty dunnage funk lead off the palate as well, followed by citrons, oranges and rosewater. Hints of toffee and earth, horseradish and metal. Though there's plenty of citrus essence in the finish, there's no sugar. There's also salt, black coffee and kiln smoke.

As per my notes, this whisky is for a specific palate. Mine! It's odd, unrefined and entertaining. There's no alcohol heat left in it, so it drinks quickly if one likes the flavors. And I'm happy to report that no generic raisiny notes appear. But there is something quite phenolic in the mix. Auchroisk's malt is allegedly unpeated, so perhaps this cask's previous inhabitant was a smoky thing. Or it's just a weird cask. Or both. In any case, this is another Speyside that's not just another Speyside.

Availability - A few retailers on the continent
Pricing - €90-€100
Rating - 88

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