On the 14th day of Kensington Wine Market Whisky Advent I expect that I am either a hero or a villain, all dependent on whether or not you are a fan of peat! Yesterday it was our Kilchoman cask, a monster, today it is another peated beast, the A.D. Rattray Cask Islay Single Malt. This whisky is what we call a mystery malt. The single malt is sourced from a distillery on Islay, but the producer is not at liberty to say what it is… we however are under no such restrictions. I can’t divulge my source, but I can say that I am confident that the whisky was produced at Laphroaig.
A.D. Rattray is a family firm with long established roots in Scotland. I’ll let the firm summarize it in its own words: “In the latter part of the 1800s A D Rattray Ltd came to represent a number of well-known Highland Malt distilleries – most notably Stronachie – selling bulk whisky to West of Scotland wine and spirit merchants, publicans and the main Scotch whisky blending houses in and around Glasgow. A D Rattray Ltd has now returned to the family and is owned by Mr Tim Morrison, previously of Morrison Bowmore Distillers and fourth generation descendent of Andrew Dewar Rattray. The company’s resurgence came about in 2002 with the bottling of a ‘new’ Stronachie 12yo. In April 2004, using his extensive knowledge and expertise in the whisky industry, Mr Morrison then bottled a selection of his own handpicked stock of whiskies for market release and the A D Rattray Cask Collection was born.”
A.D. Rattray today bottles a range of whiskies including Stronachie, Cask Islay and the Bank Note blend. They also bottle a range of whiskies under their “Cask Collection” range. These whiskies are hand selected single casks, bottled at cask strength. The first of the casks were acquired by the owner Tim Morrison, before he sold his remaining interest in Morrison Bowmore to Suntory. Other casks have been collected over the intervening years. While the firm no longer owns a distillery, they have a visitor center and shop in Kirkoswald, Ayrshire. If you’re visiting the Ayrshire region to pay homage to the Bard, you might want to make time for a tasting.
About Cask Islay: (From the Producer) “Cask Islay is carefully crafted from a relatively small number of selected casks from one distillery. Between 5 to 10 casks make up one batch of our delicious malt which is then bottled. This is called a small batch whisky. Every cask that goes into a batch of our Cask Islay has been carefully measured and monitored during its maturation to ensure it has reached the desired flavour profile for inclusion in the mix.”
A.D. Rattray Cask Islay – 46 – No Age Statement – 35ppm Phenolic Content – Matured in Ex-Bourbon & Ex-Sherry – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: creamy with clean smoke, juicy barley and earthy peat oils; red berry fruits in a bowl smothered in whipped cream; fresh squeezed lemon and hotel brunch sliced melons. Palate: thick, coating and rich with more juicy barley, clean smoke and building brooding peat notes; still very creamy, boozy whipped cream atop fresh red berries; it becomes more medicinal and peaty while simultaneously releasing more delicate fruit notes including the hotel buffet sliced melons and soft citrus notes. Finish: medium in length but bold and creamy with fading fruits. Comment: with Laphroaigs, including the Quarter Cask skyrocketing in price, this lovely Islay malt is a very good buy at $75!” - $75