Acla da Fans: 10th Anniversary bottlings

Acla da Fans: 10th Anniversary bottlings

Acla da Fans is a duty-free shop in Switzerland, near the borders with Austria and Italy. Since 1985 they offer a wide range of cosmetics, tobacco and whisky. Besides the classic names, some German bottlers like Sansibar, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Treasures… are well respresented on their shelves.

Since 2013 they’ve been releasing independent bottlings under their own label Acla Selection. Some co-bottlings already appeared on this blog, like a Ben Nevis 1996 and Cragganmore 2004.

I have a wide range of samples waiting to be reviewed. For today we’ll focus on their 10th Anniversary series, a set of six single malts of different styles and ages. We start with the oldest release, a Glenrothes 1986.

You know what struck me after seeing the cask number? Acla da Fans refers to it as #212536, while Wu Dram Clan also bottled cask #2125 (just 72 bottles – low multiples of 6 usually indicate a shared cask) and The Whisky Jury bottled #860002131. I’m often wondering who decides to tamper with the cask reference: the bottler, the broker or some middleman? It seems silly because it’s still obvious: adding the vintage (86), a couple of zeros or the age (36) can’t hide the fact that these are sister casks (or even split casks). In fact they’re not obliged to mention anything, so why would one try to obfuscate the fact that they’re related? Anyway, much ado about nothing, I guess.


Glenrothes 36 yo 1986 (45,6%, Acla da Fans ’10th Anniversary series’ 2022, hogshead #212536)

Nose: nicely waxy notes up front, with hints of apricots and oranges, as well as bananas, sweet pears and honey. Then hints of vanilla and passion fruit syrup, alongside ferns, hints of ginger and sunflower oil.

Mouth: sweet and oily. Bananas, more stewed pears and apples, a little papaya and apricot jam. Then pomelo appears with herbal tea, verbena and vanilla. Hay and fruit tea with a dollop of honey, with mild oak in the end.

Finish: long but rather subtle, slightly greener and zestier now (grapefruit), with a little nutmeg and pepper.

It is quite clear that this cask is closely related to the others we had before and probably identical to the WDC bottling. Seriously good whisky, in any case. Available from Acla da Fans of course, but also from a couple of German retailers, I believe.



Secret Highland Distillery 14 yo 2008 (44%, Acla da Fans ’10th Anniversary series’ 2022, sherry butt #452, 120 btl.)

Secret Highland 2008 - Acla da Fans whisky Nose: quite some caramel toffee and dark honey, with light citrusy notes underneath. Candied ginger and leathery notes, as well as a nutty side (almond / cashew). Fairly mature yet quite delicate. Some of the rounder notes are coupled to sharper notes – at one point I picked up a light whiff of ammonia but this was gone after airing.

Mouth: same feeling of opposing elements. Some salty notes, liquorice and pepper. Then raisins, herbal honey and fudge. Later also milk chocolate coated hazelnut and almond. Mild gingery notes, lemons and leather. The biggest downside is the fact that it feels a little soft.

Finish: medium length, with some leafy notes, caramel / chocolate candy and a little nutmeg.

While reasonably priced, I’m not entirely convinced. It feels too mild and focuses too much on caramel notes rather than the (dried) fruits I was hoping for. Some similar casks are rumoured to be Glen Garioch, but I couldn’t tell you. Available from Acla da Fans. Score: 82/100



Glen Grant 25 yo 1998 (48,7%, Acla da Fans ’10th Anniversary series’ 2023, refill sherry butt #13223)

Glen Grant 1998 sherry - Acla Selection Nose: fresh and youthful. Plenty of lemon and Granny Smith peelings, greengages and carambola. Hints of creamy vanilla custard and plum sweetness, but on the other hand also faint hints of raw wool and citrus zest. Crystal clean.

Mouth: highly drinkable. Full of vanilla custard and lemon again, or rather limoncello. Light yeasty notes and sweet cereals. White pepper, some rhubarb sharpness and hints of candlewax. More plummy notes before it moves towards a gentle leafy bitter side. A light chalkiness too.

Finish: quite long, on orchard fruits, apple peelings and mildly peppery oak.

A clean no-nonsense whisky, very natural and easy to drink. A profile that seems a bit younger than its actual age. Pretty rudimental but at the same time high quality. Check Acla da Fans. Score: 88/100



Glen Garioch 7 yo 2015 (53,8%, Acla da Fans ’10th Anniversary series’ 2023, hogshead #5124, 239 btl.)

Glen Garioch 2015 - Acla da Fans 10th Anniversary Nose: starts fairly grassy and green, with lemon peels, greengages and unripe peach. Apple peelings and light whiffs of violets in the background. Then some ginger and cinnamon, with light yeasty touches and a hint of vegetal oil.

Mouth: fresh and citrusy, with lots of lemons, grapefruits and green plums. More ginger and zestiness, balanced with a nice fattiness. Light honeyed notes, with gentle wood spice, a sweet grainy note and a hint of salt.

Finish: quite long, green and mildly spiced, with a lightly caramelized malty note.

Another natural, spirit-driven selection, which seems to be a common thread in this anniversary series. Funny that the 25yo Glen Grant seemed young and this 7yo seems so mature. Still available, check their website. Score: 86/100



Caol Ila 15 yo 2007 (53,4%, Acla da Fans ’10th Anniversary series’ 2022, bourbon cask #304989, 146 btl.)

Caol Ila 2007 - Acla da Fans 10th Anniversary Nose: nicely medicinal (iodine, antiseptics), with smoked hay, lovely lemon notes and raw wool. Oysters and plaster. Fresh laundry. Then also soft vanilla and hints of white chocolate in the background, rounding off the peaty and coastal notes.

Mouth: very coastal now, with kippers and oysters, herbal tea and camphor. Hints of wet gravel and lemons, tobacco leaves and smouldering bonfire. Subtle hints of dough, olive oil and green peppercorns.

Finish: long, with a lot of brine, lemon zest, minerals and very subtle vanilla.

Pure and vertical, with hints of youthful power but already some mature complexity as well. Very good, you know where to find it. Score: 87/100


The last one is a Secret Islay single malt, but on the website they clearly mention it was distilled at Ardbeg distillery.


Secret Islay 13 yo 2009 (54,2%, Acla da Fans ’10th Anniversary series’ 2023, bourbon hogshead #104, 90 btl.)

Secret Islay 2009 (Ardbeg) - Acla da Fans Nose: initially milder than expected. Also very clear, with muddy notes and plenty of raw wool, hints of burnt wood logs and sooty smoke. Then fresh herbs (fennel seeds), lime and some apple. Classic iodine and seaweed as well.

Mouth: highly focused peat smoke, lots of cold ashes and black peppercorns. A nice touch of marshmallow / bubblegum sweetness in the background. Then anise, butterscotch and hints of vanilla. Increasingly mineral in the end.

Finish: long and rather fruity, on lemons and sweet grapefruit juice, alongside ashes, vanilla and hints of salt.

A really nice Ardbeg, with a rather fruity boubon cask influence. Complexity is not sky-high, but other than that it’s pretty flawless. Available from Acla da Fans. Score: 89/100