McCrae's is, for me at least, not a very known bottler. I have so far only tasted their 22 Year Old Caol Ila, which I liked a lot. At the Antwerp Whisky Festival (organized by the shop Anverness), a sample of this was waiting for me. It is an Auchentoshan 12 from 2003, a single hogshead bottled at cask strength.
A malty heart with loads of fresh citrusy notes and grasses. Both freshly cut and lemongrass. Something between sugar and caramel with a touch of vanilla. A tad green, too. Think thyme and nettles. After a few moments it becomes fruity sweet with a hint of apricot pie.
It is picquant upon arrival. Immediately pepper and ginger with a hint of liquorice. The citrus really jumps out now. It becomes honeysweet. Truckloads of honey. It apricot pie is recognizable on the palate as well. The green touch returns, which is not a bad thing.
The finish is rather long and mildly drying.
Powerful spring whisky. Thanks go to Peter at Anverness for providing the sample. Around 90 EUR, I was told. Not particularly cheap for a 12 year old single malt.