I’ve sampled a few expressions from A.D. Rattray during the early
noughties and although I didn’t find the quality ‘exceptional’, they did
offer pretty good value for money. So, I may not like their tactics, but
I did invest in a few of their bottlings and I didn’t regret it.
Anyway - according to their own website: "Today the company's
principal purpose is to bottle unusual and exclusive casks of Scotch
Whisky, with each one chosen to reflect the different styles of the
(...) regions of Scotland. Whether from Mr Morrison's own stock or
independently sourced, only casks (...) of exceptional quality are
bottled under the (...) label and released into selected markets.".
During the early noughties the malt whisky in a bottle of Stronachie was
rumoured to be distilled at the Benrinnes distillery. Tastings together
with other malt maniacs confirmed that this might be the case, but it
could have been produced at any other whisky distillery as well.
So, A. D. Rattray is playing fast and loose with the facts.
Some other companies in the whisky business like to stretch the facts
as well, but they often use clever misdirection and vagueness rather
than appropriating second-hand names from other whisky companies.
When I write this, I haven’t sampled any of the recent bottlings that
were released by A.D Rattray. However, if and when I get to try some
recent material I will add the tasting notes to this page.
Well - there used to be a real Stronachie distillery in Perthshire.
It was founded around 1900 by Alexander & Macdonald and within a few years it
was sold to J. Calder & Co. Ltd. After at least one other change in ownership the
distillery was acquired by DCL (a predecessor of Diageo) who closed it in 1928.
So, a modern 12yo bottling of ‘Stronachie’ malt whisky is not quite genuine.
Rattray’s portfolio includes a range of independent bottlings of single malt whisky,
some vatted malts and at least one ‘bastard malt’: the ‘Stronachie’. It is supposed
to be a single malt whisky, but there is no Stronachie distillery in Scotland.
The company Dewar Rattray was founded (some would claim it was re-founded) in
2004 by Tim Morrison, who had been involved with the Bowmore distillery in the past.
Shortly after Dewar Rattray was established, they already had to change their name
to ‘A. D. Rattray’ to avoid confusion with the well known existing Dewar's brand.
Many companies in the whisky industry are cluching at straws to suggest a connection
to Scotland’s rich whisky heritage. Unfortunately, this sometimes involves misleading
the public to some extent. The whisky business is full of tricks (that’s nothing new),
but A. D. Rattray seems to lean towards the more ‘creative’ side of the business.
Distillery Data Overview - a list of active (and recently closed) malt and grain whisky distilleries in Scotland.
Whisky Industry Ownership - all active Scotch malt whisky distilleries and the companies that own them.
Scotch whisky Brands (A-I) - the whisky world is a confusing blend of distillers, bottlers and brands.
Scotch whisky Brands (J-W) - the list of malt whisky brands is so long that I needed two separate pages.