Reviewing one of the 2010 Diageo Special Releases, the Auchroisk 20 year old Limited Edition!
Things are starting to get a little more hectic around here as we prepare for our move, so I’ve been slow to get the last few US-based reviews posted – but I have some really special whiskies coming up, Like this one! I found this bottle of Auchroisk 20 year-old a few years back at Goody Goody while doing whisky some hunting with Sorin and I have to say that this is one of my all-time best surprise buys! The incredible thing is that this was just sitting there in plain sight on the shelf – and for a rather incredible $130 a bottle, that was actually ultimately less after Sorin negotiated a discount! Now if you keep an eye on these things, you’ll know that the current state of pricing for Diageo’s annual release bottlings can tend toward the stratospheric, so finding one of this age, and for this price, was a real piece of luck. Then, after opening the bottle and tasting the whisky inside, I rushed back as fast as I could to pick up a couple more!
Auchroisk is relatively unknown as single malt distillery, at least here in the US, and most of what you can find here are independent bottlings. I’ve read various reviews of different releases from Auchroisk and they have been…..well, mixed, at best. And given the limited availability, this was the actually first Auchroisk that I’d tasted. But because of the rarity of finding an official bottling, and an aged Diageo Special release at that, I took the flyer on the bottle and haven’t had any regrets!
Review: Auchroisk 20 year old Limited Edition, 2010 Diageo Special Release, Bottle No. 5353 of 5856 Total Bottles, Natural Cask Strength 58.1% abv,
Color: Light amber gold
Nose: (N) Very floral, grassy, and with huge notes of raisin custard. Whiffs of soft baking spices, warm bread with honey, newly tanned leather, fresh ink, red plum, overripe pear, and black cherry, along with a gorgeous oakiness that ties it all together. (W) Remains floral, but the grassy aspect is diminished. Butterscotch, cream, warm toast, white pepper, just opened glossy magazines, Candied cherries, white pepper, a hint of cinnamon, Earl Grey tea, and still that supple oakiness that adds interest without being overdone.
Taste: (N) Whoa! The arrival is really too hot to really show off much! There are hints of vanilla, warm bread dough, quite a bit of fresh lemon juice, tart apple skin, and leather that peek through, but this one definitely needs a handle with caution label! (W) Now we’re talking! I added quite a bit of water to the glass, then gave it several minutes to settle…..and it is worth the wait! The fruits are much more prominent early, then I get some lemon juice, loads of white raisins, warm vanilla buttercream, leather, rosewater, a quick hit of peppery heat in the mid-palate, then more of the sweeter notes, baking spices, raisins, and then the fruits return. Rinse and repeat!
Finish: Very long. Sweet, a peppery heat, the fruits ebb and flow, with a slightly tannic bite at the end.
Overall: I really enjoyed this whisky. Granted, it is very hot when tasted neat – well, it is 58.1% abv! – but patience, and a good dose of water, raises the gates to an interesting, nicely complex, and excellent example of a Speyside whisky. At times fruity, floral, spiced, and sweet, this one just dances around the tongue! Highly rated in my book!
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 20 years
Maturation: American and European Oak casks
Price: $130 (USD)
Availability: Very Limited via Retail
Sample Source: My own bottle