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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

July 26, 2019


Little duos, today Auchentoshan

We’ve always said that Auchentoshan was THE malt whisky for summertime, but it’s true that the Lowlander is not what it used to be anymore, I do not know why. Maybe because of some excessive use of wood(s)? It used to lie within the top ten malts twenty years ago, as far as I can remember. Killed by quercus and wine, perhaps… But there, the aperitif…

Auchentoshan ‘Three Wood’ (43%, OB, +/-2018)

Auchentoshan ‘Three Wood’ (43%, OB, +/-2018) Two stars and a half
Perhaps the expression that started the decline – we’re talking reputation among the whisky lovers, not sales figures (if it sells, they are right). I mean, who needs three woods, when all fine wines and spirits use only one (if any)? I last tried the Three Wood in 2004 and had thought it as average (WF 78). Maybe that’s why I needed 15 years to get back to it… Colour: very golden orange (E150). Nose: not an unpleasant whisky, I even find it nicely singular, with whiffs of pot-pourri, rose petals and Parma ham, then rose liqueur and suet. In the background, fudge and toffee. Intriguing… Mouth: starts nicely, on praline, vanilla fudge and white chocolate, but it’s soon to become too tea-ish, drying, with this feeling of eating raw cocoa powder. Finish: this is where it gets awry. Jumbled herbal teas, all rather over-infused. Comments: not that bad, it started pretty well, but the end was pretty miserable. Hold on, some b****y Game Of Thrones whisky, yet again?
SGP:451 - 79 points (good progress though, ha-ha).

All right, since we were talking wine…

Auchentoshan 19 yo 1999/2018 (52.4%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, 258 bottles)

Auchentoshan 19 yo 1999/2018 (52.4%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, 258 bottles) Four stars
From one bourbon cask and one Lafite cask. Wait, did they well write ‘Lafite’ this time? Without two Fs and without two Ts? I say hurray, fantastic, bingo, they got it right! Kudos Campbeltown, this is really game-changing; what’s more, remember they needed years to go from ‘Barollo’ to ‘Barolo’, so I would say they’re learning faster and faster. Colour: gold (so no Lafite red and last time I checked, Lafite didn’t do white). Nose: I couldn’t help seeing the back label, on which they’re mentioning cola. They are extremely right, they managed to produce a better Coca-Cola. Hint, never, ever read Cadenhead’s back labels when tasting one of their whiskies, because they’re dangerously accurate – while other bottlers seem to be hiring copywriters on acid who shall never even have one cl. In their tumblers. With water: a tad more on barley, on malt, on regular cake. Mouth (neat): no, no back label before us this time. So rather blood oranges, Jaffa cakes, Cointreau, and a touch of lemon tarte – with meringue, s’il-vous-plaît. With water: back to barley and cake again, so to speak, but I’m feeling a touch of wine, rather some ripe chardonnay… Which just cannot be in the case of Lafite. I mean, Lafite-Rothschild. Finish: medium, creamy rounded, more on vanilla. After all, there was a bourbon cask too. Comments: looks like the humble and cheap bourbon barrel tamed the posh and expensive Lafite cask. I these days of looming revolution (looming eternally, that is), I say that’ll teach them.
SGP:651 - 85 points.

We may owe the owners, don’t you think? But it’s going to be an older bottling…

Auchentoshan 21 yo 1975/1997 (55.4%, OB)

Auchentoshan 21 yo 1975/1997 (55.4%, OB) Four stars and a half
This baby from the distillery’s most luminous era. It is a large vatting of around twenty casks, which I have never tried yet, which goes to show how lousy a whisky blogger I am. I mean, there were thousands of bottles out there! Colour: amber. Nose: hang on, olive oil and white chocolate? Can this be? Fresh yet burnt brioche and croissant are less unseen, while earl grey tea and raisins are even less so. All in all, an old Auchentoshan that, just like many malt whiskies from those periods, cannot not make you think of proper ‘estate’ Cognac. With water: even more olive oil, which I find brilliant, if a little surprising. Some flowers too, it is a beautiful nose. Dandelions, broom, or gorse for example, yellow ones. Mouth (neat): it is amazing how ‘Cognacqy’ it is. Stewed peaches, chocolate, raisins, caramel, molasses (I agree this rather suggests rum), wax polish, heather honey… With water: a wonderful creamy development, perhaps a tad oaky at times, but we can take it. It’s just lacking a little more depth, which means that it’s a tad superficial, yet not flat (well done, S.) Praline, chocolate sauce, caramel… Finish: rather long, rather drier. Marmalade in the aftertaste, which isn’t unseen either. Cinnamon. And, sadly, a wee touch f soapy paraffin. Loses the 90-mark here. Comments: a tad oak-driven, but Auchentoshan is triple-distilled, so you cannot quite make a spirit-driven Auchentoshan, can you? Unless your goal is to make marshmallow eau-de-vie. An excellent 1975 nonetheless. I think I’ll have to put my hands on a 1966 again…
SGP:551 - 89 points.

While we’re at it, and about the Three Wood, some good folks seem to notice that entry-level whiskies are getting better these days. Not so, in my opinion, it’s just that the older whiskies have got much more expensive, whilst people tend to rather enjoy what they can afford. In other words, the dearer the old ones, the ‘better’ the youngsters. A funny theory, isn’t it! Only on whiskyfun-dot-com (didn’t someone warn you?)

(Merci les Burlet bros.)

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