Review: Auchroisk 7 Year Old 2009 (Hepburn's Choice) / by Jason Hambrey

Hepburns Auchroisk 7 year old.jpg
7 Years; refill hogshead
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Auchroisk (Mulben, Scotland)

You don’t see many bottles of Auchroisk. It’s a relatively new distillery to Scotch whisky, having been founded in 1974. Why don’t we see many single malts from there? Well, because it’s purpose build to supply blends and most of its production goes to J&B. However, independent bottlers who buy up casks of distillate and sell them under a different brand (in this case, Hepburn’s choice) are a good way to explore the entire range of Scotch whisky. The hepburn’s choice brand is set up to showcase base character of distilleries, so, in this case, it’s fairly young and from a refill hogshead - so not a cask-dominant whisky. I do like to see distillery character, so these whiskies aren’t always necessarily the best in taste (although some are…)- but they are a lot of fun to use to explore.

I had my first Auchroisk in an advent calendar, and I really liked it. So, I couldn’t help but explore a bit more…

Review (2020)

  • Batch: distilled 2009 (405 bottles)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Definitely a younger single malt! It’s still quite raw, but it has a lot of depth. Blueberries, hazelnut oil, vanilla, a light umami character, and prunes. Pleasing grain notes. As with many young whiskies, it really opens with time and the harshness lifts off. With water, a bit more grainy and more stone fruits.

The palate has amazing mouthfeel, with fruits bursting forth – pear and peach and plum – but then a really nice barley finish that endures. Vanilla and some blueberry tea, too. The dried fruits – peach and apricot, in particular – just seem to grow with time. And with water. A tingly finish with some really nice dried peach, clove, cinnamon, and dried mango. Pretty enduring.

A great demonstration of the effect of non-chill filtration on mouthfeel. Also a really nice demonstration of a whisky which evolves in the glass. Well done! Just about all I look for in a young single malt.

Recommended (82% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, but the upper end (particularly for Scotch). Because it’s young and can be a bit raw, it’s a bit more of a mood whisky than an every day. But, I love interesting, complex, distillate driven whiskies, so….