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Friday, April 29, 2016

Single Malt Report: Auchentoshan 23 year old 1990 Archives #6850

On Wednesday and Thursday I reviewed Auchentoshan whiskies and today I will again review an Auchentoshan whisky.  And then that's it for Auchentoshan here, for the foreseeable future.  There ain't no samples of it left in my stash.

Today's Lowland single malt is the oldest of this week's three, but also has the lowest alcohol-by-volume.  The good folks at Archives, who are also the proprietors of the Whiskybase shop, selected a hogshead which may have been losing more to the angels (or devils or thieves or rats) than the cask owner may have desired.  Archives and Whisky-Fässle split the cask which was weighing in at a total of 47.7%abv and had an outturn of only 142, which means it had a loss of around 60% of its contents.  That's a lot of empty cask space.  These sorts of casks can be pretty fun, though they can also be pretty gross.  Having enjoyed a number of Archives's whiskies, I'm betting on the former.

Distillery: Auchentoshan
Independent Bottler: Archives
Range: The Indian ducks and their allies
Age: 23 years old (11/11/1990 to 9/2014)
Maturation: Hogshead
Cask #: 6850
Limited bottling: 71
Region: Lowlands
Alcohol by Volume: 47.7%

The color is the lightest of the three whiskies, a nice straw color.

That straw comes through on the nose.  Oats, barley, rice cakes.  Lightly earthy.  Soon it develops a nice cookie dough note that lingers throughout.  That's followed up cherry Jolly Ranchers, fresh raspberries, and sesame seeds.

The softly layered palate has some earth, honeyed sweetness, something savory (beef stock?), white fruits, lemons, and limes.  A nice barley delivery.

The lightly sweet finish shows honey, lemons, and toasted oak spices.  Despite the fragility of notes, it lasts for a long time.

WITH WATER (~40%abv)
The fruit gets louder in the nose, with stone fruits joining the berries.  Black licorice.  Still lots of cereal grains.

The palate becomes surprisingly complex.  Moss, barley, fresh herbs, something metallic (copper?), and a nice compact white fruit and honey concoction.  Yet the sweetness is kept mild and steady.

The finish has the fresh herbs and moss.  Mild honey sweetness again, now encased in a menthol glow.

It was Jordan of Chemistry of the Cocktail who convinced me to try this.  And the really weird thing about this whisky -- considering my experience with indie Auchentoshans and this cask's strange outturn -- is that it's not at all weird.  Between the hay, earth, grains, berries, and green herbs it proves to be a very rustic whisky.  Something nice and light for a country spring evening.

What is unusual about it is its youth and the prominence of the barley spirit.  I'm going to guess that may have something to do with the mostly empty cask.  Time has softened the rougher parts of the new make, but left its heart.  CJ and Menno and whomever else has the good nose over there, have done it again.

Availability - Only through Whiskybase Shop
Pricing - €135 pre-shipping
Rating - 89