Thursday, July 10, 2014
New release - Stronachie 10 years old
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 and Stronachie paid the price. It was finally closed in 1930 and dismantled with all of the equipment being sold off to raise funds. The current malt used for the Stronachie bottlings is made at the Benrinnes distillery in Speyside, which was found to be the closest match to that original.
This new 10 years old joins the current 18 years old expression and both are sporting newly designed packaging, which harks back to that of the first ever bottling. It is bottled at 43% ABV and a bottle should cost around the £35 mark from selected specialist whisky retailers.
Our tasting notes
The colour is pale golden yellow and the nose has a vibrant freshness. There is an initial pleasant mix of aromas with crisp green apple and earthy malted barley particularly prominent. Underneath are soft aromas of honey, tinned pears and vanilla, along with hints of ginger, burnt orange and something floral.
On the palate, this has a lovely viscous mouth coating feel. The initial notes are of distinct malted barley, which has an earthy and slightly dry and dusty edge to it, and honey. This honey note is very sweet to begin with and is more reminiscent of sugar syrup before tending more towards heather honey. The other characteristics are more subtle - there are notes of green apple (think of the slightly tart skins in particular, although this develops even further when left in the glass for 10-15 minutes), oatcake biscuits, candied lemons and cinnamon. Later there is an increasing earthy ginger note that develops to add depth and warmth.
This ginger-like warmth carries through to the finish and the combination with the honeyed sweetness and bittersweet malty cereals is very good. Some drying wood spices, especially cinnamon again, become more prominent and linger longest to create a nice balance.
What's the verdict?
This is a very good single malt from A. D. Rattray, especially when you consider the price and relative rarity. The lovely mix of robust malt, sweetness and fruitiness with more subtle notes is excellent. We also like the idea of trying to recreate a heritage whisky as closely as possible and the historical link of the brand with the company. This is definitely worth searching out if you've got a £30-35 budget and want to try something a bit different.