Bottle and packaging for new Auchentoshan Virgin OakRecently, the team at Morrison Bowmore released a Glen Garioch to market, which had only been matured in new American oak (or, Virgin Oak) casks.

Hot on its heels is this new one from sister brand Auchentoshan, which has undergone the same maturation process.

According to the company, the experiments in using new oak casks have been ongoing since the Millennium in a bid to “challenge the firmly entrenched belief that Scotch whisky must be matured in ex-bourbon or sherry casks.”

It’s an interesting concept and one I wasn’t quite so confident about the first time I tried the new Glen Garioch. It’s grown on me since and so I was keen to see how its softer, southern sister – Auchentoshan – would hold up to the process.

Just as a bit of background, this is a no-age statement release (we can guess it will include some whisky around the 12 year mark if it’s been aging since the turn of the century), in non-chill filtered and is being sold at a price point around £69.99, a fairly large step up for the brand who sells its 18-year old at around £55.

Here are my thoughts on it:

Auchentoshan Virgin Oak: 46%:

(c): Amber

(n): Vanilla, nuts, fresh wood, cinnamon spice and eggnog (the Canadian pre-made kind that comes in cartons) dominate at first. After I leave in the glass a while, some lovely blackcurrent/blueberry notes come through and I find it very appealing.

(p): A bit peppery and citrus tinged at first with loads of vanilla and nutmeg. There is a lovely sweet, smooth character from the Auchentoshan but it’s taken to a richer level.

(f): Dark berries

Conclusion: This is luscious and rich and I prefer it to the Glen Garioch Virgin Oak. I think the Auchentoshan works more seamlessly in this style and it would be perfect for a cool, dark night.