There have been a few whiskies recently that have been revived in one way or another, Mackinlay’s Shackleton recovered from the ice of Antarctica or something slightly closer to home like The Tweedale for example, each with its own unique journey back towards our glasses once again. Bygone or lost distilleries are often very much sought after by the whisky fraternity but I think its just nice to hear that people go to the trouble to recreate something forgotten, bringing it back to new audiences and breathing a bit of life back into a brand such is the case with the latest sample to arrive at the desks of Dramatic Whisky HQ.
Stronachie distillery, Perthshire, was founded in the 1890s and remained in operation until 1928 when a shortgage of barley forced the then owners, St James Export Company Ltd, to close with the buildings eventually being demolished in the 1950′s. During its operation, the Stronachie brand was represented by Dewar Rattray and it was that company, known today as A.D. Rattray, that has brought Stronachie single malt back to life. After purchasing an early bottling of Stronachie at auction in the mid 1990′s, probably the last know example on the market, they set about recreating the malt from a small sample with guidance from Tim Morrison, formally of Morrison Bowmore and now owner of A.D.Rattray. It seemed that the character of the original sample most closely resembled current malt stock from the Benrinnes distillery helping move this project forward to its first re-release in 2001. The range currently available is formed of a 12 and 18 year old expression of which I have the 12 year old set out below. This particularr whisky is produced in small batches from a combination of two ex-sherry butts and four ex-bourbon casks.
Stronachie 12 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Bottled by A.D Rattray from Benrinnes Distillery
Appearance: Pale rose gold
Nose: Sliced green apple which has become slightly sweet with oxidisation, damp oak shavings, honey suckle and jasmine flowers (tea). Ground roasted hazelnuts which becomes a light charred note.
Palate: Rounded sweetness with a full malty note. Light spice of mace, cinnamon and white pepper before turning nutty (ground almond) with vanilla cream and freshly charred oak.
Finish: Lingering sweetness mixed with spice and a peppery grip.
Summary: It is of course a very difficult thing to try to recreate a malt, and it is difficult to know how closely this example matches the original product, so the only thing I can do is to sample the offering and review it as a stand alone which I am pleased to say is rather delightful. It certainly falls into my style of malt with a good balance of sweet and spice without too much overpowering vanilla and oak.