Tag Archives: AD Rattray

AD Rattray Auchroisk 20


Auchroisk…I have to admit I take way too much enjoyment out of being able to clear my throat at the same time that I say the name of this distillery. This Diageo owned Speyside distillery that started producing whisky in 1974 is primarily put into blends. Because it is mainly used in blends, you don’t see many bottles of Auchroisk out there. Diago did recently release a distillery bottling of a 20 year Auchroisk. This bottling that we are trying today is also a 20 year old but is from one of our favorite Independent Bottlers – AD Rattray.

AD Rattray Auchroisk 20 ~$80.00
Distilled: February 2, 1991
Bottled: May 17, 2011
Bourbon Barrel, Cask #2557
52.8% ABV

Color: Light gold with a tinge of copper.
Nose: Decidedly sharper than Chichibu the First – what I was tasting along side, tons of tropical fruits, star fruit, very bright, vanilla, fruit cocktail. Some malt and dustiness comes forward after the waves of fruits pass by.
Mouth: A kiss of smoke that took me by surprise, vanilla, slightly dry, thin mouth feel, not as hot as expected, clean firm malt, refreshing, bright tropical fruits, sweet, lights up the back of the tongue with a nice spice combined with the tropical fruits.
Finish: Short and clean.

With some water
Nose: Even brighter, more malty more fruity, full bouquet of fruits.
Mouth: Toned down and mellow, lost some of its brightness, but definitely revs up the vanilla and spices, loses some of the fruits in favor of the spices – interesting shift in flavor. Get more cereal notes as well.
Comments: A very refreshing whisky that works great on a relaxing sunny day. This is a damn fine whisky I have to say and especially at the price. The Diageo 20 year is ~$180. AD Rattray keeps the hits coming.


Filed under Auchroisk

AD Rattray Bowmore 20


Last time we tasted a couple of younger whiskies from the AD Rattray line up – this time we visit an older Bowmore.

AD Rattray Bowmore 20 $120
Cask: Bourbon (#271)
Distilled: February 26, 1990
Bottled: October 27, 2010
No. of Bottles: 235
ABV: 54%

Color: Light gold

Nose: Wafts of peat and seaside brine, a cakey sweetness underneath the peat, none of the red fruit complexity that I tend to get from Bowmore.  This initially seems like straight forward peat but with time it filled out with coastal breeze, spice and sweet notes.

With water: Sweeter with the water, airs out – becomes lighter, more of the bourbon influence becomes present, some citrus.

Palate: Very oily, big peat forward and fading smoke, a bitter tinge in the middle, oak spice, surprisingly light for a 20 year old.  A lot more subtle than expected.

With water:  Becomes more ashy, softens the spices, dusty, drying, earthy, juice-like sweetness.

Finish: Medium with a full flavor profile of peat, ash, spice and sweetness.

A delicate but full flavored older Bowmore, a different dimension from this distillery, almost Caol Ila like with the sweetness and ash, I really enjoyed this one. Great balance of flavors.


Filed under Bowmore

A Couple of Young AD Rattrays

From one of our favorite independent bottlers these two distilleries aren’t seen too often on this side of the pond.  The current line up of AD Rattrays are relatively young (with a few exceptions).

Macduff 10 $66

Distilled November 15, 2000
Bottled April 5, 2011 @ 59.8%ABV
Sherry Cask (No. 5786)

Color:  Light copper

Nose:  Sherry up front, figs, earthy, over ripe red grapes with hints of vanilla

Palate:  Intense red fruit with a fiery alcohol back drop – needs water! Much better…sweet grain notes, cereal, nice even handed sherry influence, cough syrup, walks right up to the line of being too sweet for my taste, lingering spice, something slightly synthetic/rubbery sticks out, cherries, varnish?

Finish:  Hangs around awhile with some nice spice.

Comments:  Deep flavors for a 10 year old, a well balanced sherried Speysider, it manages to escape the sulfery tones that I get a lot with sherry casks I am happy to say.  A little youthful, wish I could taste it after it sat for a couple of more years.

Glen Ord 12 $66

Distilled March 17, 1998
Bottled October 30, 2010 @60.1% ABV
Bourbon Cask (No. 24)

Color:  Pale yellow

Nose:  Rich, buttery, chalky, hard candy, caramel, butterscotch, fresh

Palate:  Sweet, the ABV makes it tough to get through though, thick oily mouth feel, vanilla, surprising spice.  With water: a lot more enjoyable, milder, sweet, honey, powdered sugar, floral and slightly dry.

Finish:  Short with some oak bite

Comments:  A nice straight forward Highland malt, sweet but kicked up a little, its nice to be able to adjust with water since it is at cask strength, enjoyable but not necessarily memorable.

Leave a comment

Filed under Glen Ord, Macduff

Irish Whiskey – AD Rattray Cooley

It is rare to find a single cask expression of an Irish whiskey.  Luckily for me AD Rattray, an independent bottler that I really like, was able to secure a cask from the Cooley distillery.  Cooley, a relatively new distillery, built in 1987, promotes the fact that it is the only independent distillery in Ireland.  Their single malt brands include Tyrconnel and Connemara and a single grain Greenore. – Chris 

AD Rattray Cooley ~$95
Aged 11 years in a bourbon cask, Cask No. 882, 158 bottles
Distilled Feb. 24, 1999, Bottled June 15, 2010 at 59%ABV

Color:  Pale yellow, straw

Nose: Malty, grassy, green apples, powdered sugar, vanilla and oak char, a very lively nose, medicinal and very “green”, definitely does not attempt to hide its 59%ABV

Palate: Initially soft then the flavors start to open up and attack the palate, the alcohol punch is quite strong, lots of grassy notes, fudge and chocolate, oak peaks out and is quite nice, a surprising touch of pepper, the youthfulness is still present – a little boozy, hints of cinnamon spice

Finish: Long, peppery and oaky

Comments: a real treat to try a single cask, cask strength Irish whiskey.  An avalanche of flavors that I am not accustomed to from regular OB releases.  It is a challenging whiskey that is still a little raw and young but I really like it!

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooley

K and L Wines & AD Rattray Single Cask 27 Year Clynelish

This expression is a joint effort of AD Rattray and K and L Wines. I have had great experiences with AD Rattray so far. Some of my comments about AD Rattray and a little bit of its history are here.  K and L wines, which spirits selection is spear headed by David Driscoll is one of my go to places for whisky.  With David at the helm of the spirits purchasing K and L has been able to offer several great single cask bottlings of whisk(e)y and at an even greater price.  As soon as I caught wind of this release I immediately placed my pre-order – I did not want to miss out!


Distilled: December 15, 1982

Bottled: June 15, 2010

Cask Number: 5873

Cask Type: Bourbon

ABV: 60.1%

Color – pale gold with a hint of orange.

Nose – Bourbon, dusty, cola, orange, the alcohol is very restrained here, sweet malty notes.  It did take some time for the nose to open up.  I let it sit for about 20 minutes, checking it every once in awhile. With water it opens up and is more expressive.  Green apples, honey and floral notes come out now.

Palate – A lot bigger than the nose led on, the alcohol really comes through when neat, malty, a slightly synthetic burnt plastic/rubber note, dark spices, tongue numbing, very restrained when neat though.  Maybe some water will help? With water a lot better.  Spicy, a crisp sweetness, the darker spices and some tobacco leaves start to come through.  That synthetic taste is still there though – can’t quite place what it is.

Finish – Decently dry, sweet

Comments – This is definitely a powerful dram at cask strength.  It is straight forward and not very complex.  I was expecting a little more complexity from this expression given its age.  Still a solid whisky.  Glad I was able to pick up a 27 year old single cask bottling at a great price!

Leave a comment

Filed under Clynelish, Whisky Impressions

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Auchentoshan, Whisky Impressions