So after almost a decade since my only visit to the home of all things Scotchy, my wife Cindy and I are about to embark on a “seek and secure” mission for the second edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar.
As you would have read in Blog #60, my first night in Scotland was something special. I have actually tried to work another trip into my schedule many times since then without any luck. Given how many cases of whisky I have sold in the past decade it’s amazing that 10 years have passed before heading back to the originating source for so much great whisky.
So on the eve of what should be an epic trip that will become the focus of my next 2 or 3 blogs I think it’s worth dipping into another notable bottle from my collection.
A.D. Rattray as many of you know was really what got me started down this path that has become a major focus for my life. So something old and unique was the thought I had when I dipped into the whisky cupboard to see what I could find.
A.D. Rattray 1969 Strathclyde Single Grain – 37 Years Old – Distilled on the 10th October 1969 and bottled on the 3rd of June 2007.
This was the first Single Grain whisky I had ever tasted let alone sold. Founded in 1927 The Strathclyde Distillery is a Lowlands distillery (as are most grain distilleries). Situated in Glasgow Strathclyde is now owned by Pernod Ricard and finds its way predominantly into the Chivas Brothers blends.
Tasted in a Glencairn whisky glass (the sort with the clean top edge as opposed to the less expensive option with the rounded lip).
Cask Number: 010722 – Ex Bourbon Barrel – 173 Bottles only.
Bottled at the cask strength of 54.4%
Colour: Tarnished Gold
Nose: Mercy me but that’s a fabulous nose. Tropical fruit – ripe papaya, coconut – hints of the 12 year old St Nicholas Abbey Rum from Barbados, toffee coated coffee beans, Dirty Banana.
Palate: Still hefty at 54.4% even after 37 years, firm oak but not overpowering, dried fruit platter, banana crisps, Macadamia, rich mouth feel and a touch tingly.
Finish: Certainly a lot going on here and freshens up on the finish with some lighter fruit character coming through with some coconut cream smoothing it all out.
Water: Lifts the fruit, freshly dipped caramel apple on the nose and really softens down the zesty tingle of cask strength into a more even palate. Again almost a tale of two whiskies with and without H2O. Delicious either way but today my preference would be straight up.
Single Grain is a rarity to find as only a precious few barrels are kept in the back corner of the warehouse to get to be 3 decades +. These are almost without question released by independent bottling companies like A.D. Rattray.
Personally I love older Single Grain whiskies. Grain whisky in general is certainly less complex than Malt however when it sits around for a few decades or more it definitely steps up to the plate.
Interesting to note that consumer interest in Single Grain has increased a lot since this A.D. Rattray Strathclyde came out almost 7 years ago. The 25 year old Girvan from Blog #46, that was the sole Single Grain in the 1st edition calendar, was the first whisky to sell out to retailers looking for the limited number of 700ml bottles available.
There is a very unlikely chance that any of these bottles of Strathclyde would still be on shelves in Alberta at this point. I do want to use this tasting though to maybe get you thinking more about trying some older Single Grains.
If you have had some experience with Single Grain let me know in the comments. I would love to get some feedback.
Until then it’s up, up and away for now.