Whisky connoisseurs will be well schooled in the terroir and intricacies of the various whisky-making regions of Scotland: the Speyside, the Highlands, Islay and the other Hebridean islands. But the Lowlands are often forgotten.
In its prime, the Lowlands were home to Rosebank, Kinclaith, St. Magdalene, Ladyburn, Inverleven and Littlemill, many of which adhered to the traditional triple-distilling methods that distinguish lowland malts. But those distilleries have all fallen silent over the years, leaving their legacy to Glenkinchie, Bladnoch and — arguably most of all — Auchentoshan.
Located on the outskirts of Glasgow and at the foot of the Kilpatrick hills, Auchentoshan has been in business since 1823 and is part of the small Morrison Bowmore group — alongside Highland distilleries McClelland's, Glen Garioch, and of course, the famous Islay stills at Bowmore. But it is Auchentoshan that has released this exceptionally rare malt.
Distilled and laid down to age way back in 1975, this rare expression has been maturing in American bourbon casks for over 38 years and is now being offered as a limited edition alongside Auchentoshan's core range. The cask-strength, non-chill filtered single malt has a copper gold appearance, with a nose of ripe pears, figs and honeydew. Papaya and pink grapefruit are said to emerge on the palate alongside notes of baked pineapple and almond cake, finishing with subtle notes of white grapes, elderflower and almonds.
“Having spent an additional year maturing in the highest quality North American bourbon casks,” opines Auchentoshan's master blender Rachel Barrie. “The 2013 bottling of Auchentoshan 1975 allows the drinker to experience the complexity and ripe, developed fruit flavors associated with a whisky of this vintage.’’
Only 500 bottles will be offered exclusively for travel retail, each retailing for £500 (around $817). If that's too rich for your blood, the distillery offers a variety of other expressions, including its core range consisting of the Classic, Three Wood, 12-, 18- and 21-year old malts, as well as limited releases like the Silveroak, Springwood, Heartwood and 14-year-old Cooper's Reserve.