Auchroisk in a nutshell:
founded: 1972 (production since 1974)
location: 57° 32’ 52” N 03° 06’ 49” W
capacity: 5,900,000 litres
washbacks: 8 stainless steel
source of water: Dorie’s Well, Mulben Burn
Located on Speyside, at the foot of Ben Aigan, the Auchroisk distillery is one of those that were founded following the high demand for blended whisky in the 1960s and 1970s. As a consequence of that fact, it has never been promoted or marketed as a single malt whisky. Truth be told, the first expression of a single malt whisky from the distillery was launched as early as 1986 as Singleton of Auchroisk, however despite favourable reviews from connoisseurs, the brand not only did not bring the distillery a cult status, it did not manage to make it to the general public well enough to be remembered by your average whisky drinker. What is interesting, the Singleton of Auchroisk was in fact the first single malt whisky to undergo the now ubiquitous technique of wood finishing. Whisky that had spent ten years maturing in bourbon casks was then transferred for another two years to ex-sherry casks, to be bottled only after that period – a classic example of wood finishing. The producer, however, never made any fuss about that, never tried to capitalise on it. And so, it has been widely accepted that it was not Auchroisk, but Balvenie and Glenmorangie that introduced the trend.
The distillery was founded in 1972, but production commenced only two years later. As mentioned above, it was designed to produce whisky for blending purposes, mainly J&B, however – it is easy maths – it was the first vintages of whisky produced here that hit the market in 1986, having been processed in the new, innovative manner. Yet, it passed unnoticed, did not stir the single malt whisky market. In 2001 the Singleton brand was abandoned, and the Auchroisk brand, in the form of Auchroisk 10yo single malt whisky, was introduced into the renowned series marketed by Diageo, namely Flora & Fauna. The Singleton brand is in fact still used today, but not for whisky from Auchroisk. It is whiskies from three other Diageo distilleries – Dufftown, Glendullan and Glen Ord – that are sold as “Singleton of” these days. In 2003 an Auchroisk was launched under Diageo’s Rare Malts series.
The Auchroisk plant is not only a whisky distillery. It is also a kind of maturation centre for whiskies from a few other distilleries on Speyside whose products are used in the making of J&B blended whisky. These include, above all, the nearby distilleries of Glen Spey, Knockando and Strathmill. New-make spirit is brought over to Auchroisk in tankers, poured into casks and left to mature in one of the giant warehouses on the premises. What follows is vatting of the various single malts, after which the whisky, now as a blended malt, is sent to one of the Diageo plants, where it is blended with grain whisky and bottled.
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