Hard to believe it is already Whisky Advent Day 21, time flies when you are having fun… Some of you will likely be familiar with today’s whisky, Stronachie 18 Year, but most of you will not. This mystery malt is a bit of a curiosity, an attempt to recreate a lost distillery’s style by whisky firm A.D. Rattray. Different incarnations of the whisky have been in the market for the better part of 5-6 years, but it remains a bit under the radar. In addition to this 18 year, there is also a 10 year old version.
Producer’s Words on the History of the Stronachie Distillery “Stronachie Distillery was built by Alexander & MacDonald in the 1890s at the top of a lonely glen close to the Perth/Kinross border. Its high altitude, remote location could only be reached from a rough road which wound through the Ochil mountains. The nearest railway station was 6 miles away at Milnathort and the connecting roads were very poor, becoming almost impassable in winter. This difficulty in transportation led to one of Stronachieâ€™s biggest claims to fame however…
“The distillery initially used a steam traction engine to pull the solid-wheeled trailers containing barrels of spirit down the hill, but this method caused terrible damage to the roads and the locals protested bitterly. The solution was found in the 1920s when a 5 mile narrow-gauge railway was built to connect the distillery to the main rail link at Milnathort. At the time this was the longest private distillery line in Britain. Despite the many challenges faced by Stronachie Distillery it succeeded in producing a fine spirit for around 30 years. During that time Stronachie Single Malt became widely available in and around Glasgow thanks to the successful distribution developed by Andrew Dewar Rattray, a relative of the current owner of A. D. Rattray, Mr S. W. Morrison. However Stronachie was hit in the late 1920s, like many others, by soaring coal and grain prices. It was forced to cease production in 1928 and was dismantled around 1930.”
A.D. Rattray enters the picture in 2001 when Stantley Morrison, of Morrison Bowmore fame (he owned the company before selling to Suntory), was researching closed distilleries. He came across a family connection to Stronachie, and shortly thereafter acquired one of just four know remaining bottles of 1904 Stronachie whisky at auction. He then began searching for a distillery who’s style most closely emulated Stronachie, and settled on Benrinnes. The Stronachie style is recreated by marrying Benrinnes casks matured in Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Sherry. The whisky is bottled at 46% without artificial colouring.
Originally built as a farm, Benrinnes was rebuilt as a distillery in 1829 following devastating floods. Save for the two world wars the distillery has been in production ever since. The distillery was completely rebuilt in the 1950s and capacity was increased in 1966 with the addition of a second set of stills. The distillery has a unique form of triple distillation which results in a higher proof spirit than the more common double distillation. The distillery was further modernized in 2012. There is no official core bottling, though its owners Diageo occasionally release special bottlings.
Stronachie 18 Year - 46% – Matured in Ex-Bourbon & Ex-Sherry – Andrew’s Tasting Note:Â ”Nose: very doughy and creamy, fruit flan and freshly peeled green bananas; soft and floral with gentle malt and juicy Mandarin oranges; white chocolate and beeswax candles. Palate: round, creamy, fruity and malty with building spice; the floral tones are still there with a very faint edge of oak; the American oak has left the whisky with loads of cream, vanilla and more waxy honey; the sherry has added to this a touch of leather, crisp spice and some darker fruits; more fruit flan, green bananas and some pineapple. Finish: big honeyed and malty, it lasts long with the fruits slowly and quietly reemerging and the oak pulls back.Â Comment: good value for an 18 year old single malt, especially a pleasant one!”Â - $103
Stay tuned tomorrow, for KWM Whisky Advent Day 22!