We have reviewed close to 100 whiskies since we began blogging. One distillery that we really ought to have covered by now is Auchentoshan, one of only four lowlanders left in Scotland (points for remembering two of the other three…).
The distillery is characterised, I believe, by a strong strawberry jam presence on the nose and the taste. If you recall, lowland whiskies are delicate, floral beings; should you therefore not be acquainted with whisky and fancy diving in, I suggest you go for the Auchentoshan Classic – that’ll offer a delicate, sweet and accessible introduction to the aqua vitae.
The nose is typically reminiscent of Auchentoshan. There is – you guessed it – that big strawberry jam note, but there’s also an almost grassy salinity, coupled with the delightful sensation of gently burning paper. A subtle orange hint plays a supporting role, before the grassy notes transform slowly but surely into hay. That is aided by a sweet caramel, before parma violets close off a show that is more a Bach chorale than a Wagner grand finale.
The nose is a subtle being, yet the taste is an even more delicate entity than its olfactory sibling. Thankfully, the delicate notes are beguilingly complex, and they offer a surprise too, for the whisky is far sweeter on the taste than the nose ever suggested. The jam throws itself to the fore, and the grassiness relegates itself to the background where it’s joined by the faintest trace of the grain. There’s other heather and orange peel notes quietly intermingling in the background.
The complexity of the taste, therefore, leads one to suspect that the finish will be of similar quality. Alas, it’s not quite the case: the oak plays too heavy a role against the sweet strawberry, and even the parma violets, which make a dash to the line, don’t quite offer enough. This is not to say that the 18 year old is let down by the finish, for it’s a super whisky that is well worth trying. How it compares to the Valinch, their limited release cask strength explosion of fruit – well, Josh is to review it imminently…
Nose 21 Taste 22 Finish 17 Balance 21