In 1868, Andrew Dewar and William Rattray began importing French and Italian wines into Scotland. By the end of the century, their company - known as A.D. Rattray - was representing a number of distilleries in the Highlands region of Scotland, and sold malt whisky to blending houses and exporters. Over the course of the past 150 years, A.D. Rattray acquired a number of smaller whisky merchants. As a result, A.D. Rattray's principal business now is bottling unusual and exclusive casks of whisky that represent the unique characteristics of Scotland's different whisky regions, and the whiskies of the Cask Collection represent the finest of these, and are non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength.
Mortlach Distillery, which was founded in 1823 by James Findlater, is situated in the heart of the Speyside region of Scotland. In 1964, the distillery was largely refurbished; today, it houses a unique configuration of six stills. The stills - three wash stills and three spirit stills - are each different shapes and sizes (one still is nicknamed "Wee Witchie"because it is shaped like a witch's cap), and aren't paired together. This unusual configuration, together with the partial triple distillation method used at Mortlach Distillery, produces a whisky that is full-bodied and incredibly meaty.
A.D. Rattray's Cask Collection Mortlach 22YO Single Malt Whisky was distilled November 9, 1990 and was aged for 22 years in a used, sherry puncheon cask (the cask, number 5951, produced only 540 bottles of whisky). Mortlach 22YO has an aroma of malty sweetness, along with notes of dried fruits, honey and a touch of cherry, which lead to a long, sweet finish.
Founded in 1819, Clynelish Distillery is situated on the stormy coast of Sutherland in the Northern Highlands region of Scotland. For a number of years after the original distillery was constructed, the quality of Clynelish whisky was so prized that only friends of its founder - the Marquis of Stafford - were able to purchase the whisky.
Clynelish Distillery continues to source Highlands-malted barley and water from the Clynemilton Burn, which is piped down to the distillery. A.D. Rattray's Cask Collection Clynelish 17YO Single Malt Whisky was distilled on June 14, 1995, and aged for 17 years in a used Bourbon Hogshead cask (the cask produced fewer than 500 bottles of whisky). The whisky has a nose of vanilla and honey that opens up to notes oak and toffee, with a touch of salty tang. The lingering finish is slightly sweet, with hints of milk chocolate and caramel.
Bunnahabhain Distillery was founded in 1881, and sits at the northeastern tip of the island of Islay. Islay's unique climate and geography impart signature characteristics to Bunnahabhain whisky. Despite its small size, the island boasts 130 miles of coastline, and the warm Gulf Stream from the Atlantic Ocean provides for cool winters and mild summers. In addition, the island is largely composed of peat, a phenolic compound that emits smoky aromas when burned. The salty winds and peat bogs of Islay result in a whisky that has a signature salinity and is balanced by a touch of smoke.
A.D. Rattray's Cask Collection Bunnahabhain 23YO Single Malt Whisky was distilled on October 23, 1989 and aged for 23 years in Bourbon Hogshead cask (the cask, number 5846, produced only 535 bottles of whisky). The whisky has a nose of oak and honey, and a subtle touch of smoke. The notes of malt and sweet vanilla are complemented by light hints of peat, and lead to a bold finish.
These three Scotch whiskies, each bottled from an individual cask, represent exquisite expressions of Scotland's different whisky regions. Pick up all three today!
Bunnahabhain 23YO: 93.6 (46.8% ABV); Clynelish 17YO: 112.2 (56.1% ABV); Mortlach 22YO: 116.4 (58.2% ABV)
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Bunnahabhain 23YO: Nose of oak and honey, and a subtle touch of smoke. Notes of malt and sweet vanilla are complemented by light hints of peat, and lead to a bold finish.