Personal taste is what makes tasting whiskies so interesting. One can like a whisky a lot while the other looks at it disgusted. Is that a familiar scenario to you? Sometimes, it’s even going beyond a single whisky and it’s a distillery lineup which you find yourself too often than not, wondering why people like it.
I admit that in my personal notebook Auchentoshan is such a distillery. Based on what I tasted to date, I think most of the Auchentoshan official lineup is meh or OK at best. However, that’s true for the OBs I’ve tasted but if you go outside that range, I encountered some good and cracking Auchentoshans. What makes the difference here? I think that at least in my case it’s the ABV that makes the big difference and makes Auchentoshan taste great. I have tasted a few cask strength Auchentoshans and they were excellent! It’s like that watering it down to 40-46% makes it a too mellow and sad whisky for me to enjoy it. Maybe my palate is not sensitive enough or maybe it’s the OB profile they strive to maintain that I don’t like, the bottom line is: pump up the ABV and there’s a good chance for kick-ass Auchentoshan.
That was the case with the 18th and last dram of the BTC 2015 competition, although there was a catch here as it was sherried and as such, erased any real chance detecting the proper region and distillery. Once again I miserably failed detecting it but sure I did enjoy that Auchentoshan.
Auchentoshan 1998 Malts of Scotland (51.9%, 287 bottles)
Nose: Very sherried and sour-oaky at first with dried fruits, raisins, nutmeg, a sprinkle of cinnamon, licorice, bread dough, sour berries. With additional time in the glass: sweet raspberry and overall feels sweeter. With water pepper spice rise up to the front and lovely cigar leafs.
Palate: On the palate I have at a dimmed experience like it’s blocked from full expressing its flavors, and it has some good stuff going on here with nutmeg, both fresh and cooked, dried fruit, semi sour berries, a bit of cinnamon and overall it’s not a sweet delivery. With water: spicy and a healthy dose of sweeter berries.
Finish: Long finish with nutmeg, traces of oak wood spices and dried fruit sweetness.
Thoughts: Excellent sherried dram, but keep in mind this is a cask driven whisky and you can barely (if at all) detect it’s Auchentoshan. But still, it was a good finale to the BTC 2015 competition! Slainte!