Category Archives: Auchentoshan

Another Perspective on that 18 Year A.D. Rattray Auchentoshan

More than a few years ago I asked a person of some knowledge, “What would be a good introductory single malt whisky?”  I had gotten in my head at the time that I wanted to start drinking scotch.  Not just any scotch, but the single malts that were inexplicably appearing on my radar.  Until then I had been a beer-wine-vodka-whatever-comes-in-the-a-shot-glass man.  As well as a drinker of all things blue for reasons I still don’t pretend to understand.  But I had developed a hankering for single malt whisky and I wanted to do it right.  I had heard unpleasant stories of people quickly turned off by the spirit.  This I attributed to those same persons starting off on the wrong foot.  I wanted to start off on the right foot.  And not because I’m right-footed.  Anyway.  In response to my initial query, I was told to start with Auchentoshan.  So I went out and bought a bottle.  What bottle it was I don’t rightly recall, but that is appropriate since it didn’t really matter to me at the time… it simply needed to be Auchentoshan.  I would hazard, if I had to, that it was a 12 Year distillery release.  I only recall that it tasted pleasant.  And with that I quickly ended up with an empty bottle and my right foot in the door.  Which brings us to the 18 Year Rattray at issue.

Perhaps because of my fond but simple memory of Auchentoshan I relegated it to the shelf of good but introductory efforts.  Having been consistently floored by all things A.D. Rattray, however, when it was suggested that I partake of Auchentoshan again I had no reservations.  I was certain it would be quality, even if simple and simply pleasing.  I was delightfully surprised.

Color – Pale straw

Nose – Butter, medicine, sliver of marzipan

Palate – Chewy grain, lightly roasted, melon, jam, slight heat comes through and settles into mid-dark grain notes and eventual sugar/zest/maple

The Auchentoshan of my youth, in the able hands of A.D. Rattray, has transformed into a delicious and subtly complex whisky… that, or my taste buds have come a long way.

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One Prospective of the 18 Year A.D. Rattray Auchentoshan

A.D. Rattray Auchentoshan 18 Year, Distilled 1990, Bottled 2009 @ 56.5%


This whisky had a lot to live up to in my mind.  First, A.D. Rattray has been consistently one of my favorite independent bottlers.  The whiskies they release have a way of being very unique while at the same time not losing the distillery flavors that we like.  Some independent releases get too far away from the basic distillery flavor profile.  What also sticks out in my mind about A.D Rattray bottlings is the viscosity.  Both the Balblair and Bowmore bottlings were thick and chewey (if you can get that from a liquid?). A.D. Rattray is relatively new to the independent bottling arena even though the business itself was founded in 1868.  You can read more about the company here.

Second, I am a big fan of the lowlands.  It is a weird dichotomy as I love diving head first into the peat bog, even better if it is at cask strength! But I also really enjoy the soft subtle flavors of the lowlands.  Auchentoshan distillery releases haven’t wow’d me in the past however.  In any event, here we go!

Color – Light, pale yellow

Nose – Honey, medicinal, malt, a lot of straw, baked sweets like a sugar cookie

Looking up at what is left of the Dewar Rattray Auchentoshan

Palate – Full mid tongue weight, apples, a distinct sweetness, heather, floral tones, the heat comes through well

Finish – long and lingering on the heather and sweetness.

A great balance of subtle flavors with the punch of cask strength.  I really like this whisky.

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