Monday, 14 March 2016

Auchroisk Singleton 1975

Aroisk? Auchusk? Arusk?
Another mini from auction and another bit of digging around to get more information. This bottle was a new one on me but it didn’t take much sleuthing before I stumbled across this…

The Singleton of Auchroisk 1975 - circa 1990
Bigger than a miniature
So – it’s pronounced “OH-thrusk” (well, of course). Distilled in 1975 and bottled around 1990 and apparently a “very rare collectors dram”. It seems I’ve inadvertently been very discerning with my choice of random minis. And I’ve accidently popped open a mini-goldmine . Ah well, that’s what it’s there for.

Giving this a try I got lots of sherry right away. No sign of the “old smell” or mustiness  I’ve had previously with old bottles. There’s not loads else on the nose but very mild and clean. No burn, easy-going.
Tasting it there is a nice coating. Very oily and slightly carbony, almost gritty. Going in again it is literally like eating chocolate raisins. It has the dried fruit richness and intensity you can get with sherry casks.
Looks fantastic too - a thoroughly appealing deep reddy colour.
A drop of water brought out the more floral notes on the nose as well as a bit of menthol. A bit of treacle toffee towards the end. 

It’s mellow and relaxing. An unobtrusive wee dram. I think it could have benefited from being bottled a higher strength but I guess that ship sailed 25 years ago.
It seems full bottles of this go for about £200 and minis for £20 which is pretty steep. Glad I didn’t know that before opening it.

I’m enjoying trying out old bottles of whisky, they are exciting to explore but couldn’t recommend this at that price. But it is very nice and worth trying if you get the chance (in a bundle of minis at auction for example).


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Glenfarclas and Highland Park 25s

So a couple of 25 year old belters here. I’m going to avoid piddling into the torrent of opinion that sprays forth about No Age Statement whisky (for now at least), sufficed to say that even the most ardent advocate/apologist of NAS would surely go weak at the knees at tasting the couple of oldies that I’m reviewing here.
Here I have two miniatures from two distilleries I have a lot of time for. They are both 25 years old and I thought I’d try them side by side.

Starting with the Glenfarclas 25

Glenfarclas 25 Year Old
This is lighter in colour than the Highland Park, a kind of shining gold. There’s a bit of sweetness and sherry on the nose. Surprisingly light to taste too for it's age. Refreshing and spritely but still smooth.
It was a little fruity but more citrus-y than the the chewy raisin you sometimes get with older whisky. I got a bit of grapefruit in there - Opal Fruits (Starburst I guess now). Surprised how young it seemed but still very rounded. Not feisty like a Kilchoman. I also got a bit of pitta bread dryness, oakiness I suppose if you wanted it in whiski-ese

Going back to it after trying the Highland I got flowers, light and fragrant. It was like stepping into the entrance hall of a country house on a cool spring day. Woody, fresh and fragrant.

Highland Park 25
Quite different this. Smooth and sherried – a big taste to match it’s deep dark colouring.
Highland Park 25 Year Old
HP Sauce
This was much like the 30 year old (also like an old 8yo I once tasted). Wonderful brown sugar smell like a burnt crème brulee. A lingering warmth after tasting. It opens up deliciously there’s a heavy cask influence I think. It’s so deeply flavoured with wood, smoke and fruit. There were buttery crumpets too.

Going back to the Highland Park after the Glenfarlas it made me think of a ship’s trunk or an old library. Very Leathery and refined. And so rich. I also got the bit of peat in there. Smouldering ashes lingering in the middle of cold damp night. Just sublime

Overall a highly classy affair. A couple of old boys ready to kick arse.
Pricing-wise I've seen the Glenfarclas at £110 which surely makes it one of the best value oldies out there. Generally speaking I think Glenfarclas are to be applauded for their reasonable pricing.
The Highland Park I preferred of the two. But the cheapest I’ve seen it is £270. I’d really struggle to recommend that for any bottle but this is definitely worth trying should you get the chance. Old Highland Park (or old bottles) might become a bit of a thing to explore I think.