The name of Stronachie has not been around in the whisky world for a significant length of time. The original distillery of this name was built during the 1890s in a remote part of Perthshire and during the early 20th century was distributed by an independent bottling company called Dewar Rattray. However, following the massive slump in the whisky industry during and after the First World War, many distilleries were forced to close. The first to go were normally those in the remotest locations. Stronachie was closed in 1930 and dismantled, so money could be raised from selling the distillery equipment. The story of name's revival starts in 2002 when Dewar Rattray (now A.D. Rattray) bought a bottle of Stronachie from 1904 at auction. They decided to try and recreate a whisky from this long lost distillery and distribute it once again. A sample was taken from the 1904 bottle and A.D. Rattray tried to link to characteristics to a currently operating distillery. The distillery was Benrinnes in Speyside and this now supplies the whisky that goes into Stronachie.
This 12 years old actually has some older whisky from the same distillery present, so as to give a closer representation of the 1904 bottling. The different ages of whisky are given time to marry together in a cask and the result is very good. The colour is a golden amber and the nose is full of sweet dried fruits (think of raisins and sultanas), malted barley and something nutty. There is also a lovely floral note (imagine heather) and a whiff of earthy smoke in the background. Smokiness is unusual in Speyside or Highland whiskies these days but was common in the late 1800s and early 1900s. On the palate, this is rich with that fruitiness and maltiness, some toffee, warm spices (nutmeg or cinnamon, i think) and that gorgeous smoke backing it all up. The finish is long, sweet, spicy and peaty. This is a very good whisky that is rich, complex and very well rounded. It is easy to drink and would be a good introduction to someone who thinks that they don't like whisky. A great bargain at under £30 and only available in independent retailers.