Dec 052014

Secret Spirits Advent Calendar Day 5 – December 5th128

Stronachie 10 y.o. (A.D. Rattray)

Distilled at Benrinnes

43% abv

Score:  80.5/100


A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition. 

Stronachie…Benrinnes.  Tomato…tomahto.  Let’s call the whole thing off.

Or wait.  Let’s not.  Let’s drink some whisky.

If you’re doing some checking into the Stronachie distillery you’re most likely apt to hit dead end after dead end.  The distillery simply doesn’t exist.  Anymore, that is.  The original Stronachie distillery was shuttered in 1928.  In a very telling quote from the A.D. Rattray website (attributable to…who knows?): “The obliteration is total.  Only the name remains.”

So how is it then – warm at home at Christmas time 2014 – are we Advent-Calendar-following souses drinking Stronachie 10 year old for Day 5 of December?  ‘Cause Tim Morrison and the team at A.D. Rattray decided a few years back to replicate the style of the original distillate (through some reverse engineering of a rare old bottle of the original Stronachie from 1904…very similar to the recreation of MacKinlay’s Shackleton whisky) and relaunch the brand name under their own auspices.  After they had determined the flavour profile of that old turn-of-the-century malt, they scoured existing distilleries to find the whisky with a profile that most closely aligned with that 1904 control bottle.  Said malt turned out to be Benrinnes.

In short, Stronachie is Benrinnes bottled under a different name.

So there’s the history (albeit very condensed).  Let’s try the whisky now.  A rather tasty young bottle that is readily available under the A.D.R. banner in fairly broad markets.

Nose:  A surprising amount of citrus.  Sharp and rather young, but all pleasant notes.  A touch of dried apricot.  Very clean oak and a little bit of furniture polish.  There’s a slight off note here, but so minor as to be negligable.

Palate:  Oh, wow.  Love the arrival here.  Immediate lemon notes.  Kind of bitters after a moment or two though and moves into nuttier notes.  Almost Jura-esque, actually.  Getting a sort of wine-like influence too.  Some pith.  Malty, to be sure.

Thoughts:  Surprisingly complex for a 10 y.o., though not entirely my thing.  Has some personality though and seems to be a better drink than I recall the old 12 year version being.

Bonus:  My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season.  Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 10:48 am

  5 Responses to “Advent Day 5: Stronachie 10 y.o. (A.D. Rattray)”

  1. This continues what has been a very impressive series of reviews on these products. Very good reading. Cheers!

    • Appreciate the kind words. Thanks.

    • Let’s see if the sentiment remains if you run into a NAS sample in the calendar…

      • I’m really only commenting on the writing, so I’m not sure what you’re implying…

        Even “good” NAS-labeled whiskies don’t constitute any real defense of NAS marketing itself – no whisky is made better by having its age concealed, and the person paying the shot should know what they’re buying, this time AND the next.

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