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The Auchroisk distillery is a whisky distillery in Banffshire, speyside Scotland. It was established after Dorie’s Well was discovered and found to have water similar to the water used by the Glen Spey distillery, which was used by Justerini & Brooks to produce malt whisky for their blends. The well’s water was used to produce a test batch of whisky at Glen Spey distillery, and was approved, which led to the start of construction of the Auchroisk distillery at the site of the well in 1972 to produce whisky for the J&B blend. Production started in 1974.
The distillery produced its first single malt in 1978. The single malt was rebranded as ‘The Singleton’ in 1986, as the name ‘Auchroisk’ was perceived as too difficult for consumers outside Scotland. The name changed back to Auchroisk in 2001, when a bottling was released under the name ‘Auchroisk 10 Year Old Flora & Fauna’ in the Diageo Flora & Fauna range. In 2008 the name was changed again, this time to ‘The Singleton of Auchroisk’.
The distillery is used as a hub for vatting Auchroisk with the highland whiskies used in J&B before being shipped off for marrying and bottling.
Auchroisk, the name of the distillery, means shallow ford across the red stream in Gaelic, referring to the nearby Mulben Burn.
The building of Auchroisk in 1972 was meant to herald the start of a new era for blended Scotch. Certainly architecturally (like its contemporary, Allt-a-Bhainne) it stands out – a white, harled, modernist structure in the moorland. It was commissioned by IDV, at that time the parent firm of J&B which had decided that sales of the blend justified another distillery being built to join its Speyside portfolio of Glen Spey, Knockando and Strathmill.
Auchroisk was first bottled as single malt in 1986 and was the first to carry the prefix ‘Singleton’, a name now attached to single malts from Glen Ord, Glendullan and Dufftown. Although highly regarded by writers and judges in its time, it never quite made the leap from cult to major brand. Interestingly, the maturation process involved decanting 10-year-old ex-Bourbon matured whisky into ex-Sherry casks for a further two years of secondary maturation, making it the first example of finishing, but IDV never thought of talking up the process, leaving Balvenie and Glenmorangie to be regarded as the pioneers of the technique. The brand was dropped in 2001 and has subsequently quietly slipped back into the shadows.
Although somewhat remote, the large tracts of land surrounding the distillery make this the ideal site for one of Diageo’s main northern warehousing complexes.
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