I remember when I first came across Auchentoshan – it was at an event called the Auchentoshan Presents right after I started this website.
I didn’t know much about the brand but I recall being very impressed with how they were pulling together the arts (musicians, painters) together for a night celebrating the whisky brand and those people who could make a mean cocktail out of it.
I left feeling both invigorated by the state of whisky (seeing it in a trendy environment) and happy to have discovered a new brand.
With its triple distillation (a rarity in the Scottish market) and Lowland style, it is a fairly easy-going drink and the person I went to the event with – then a non-whisky drinker – got into the spirit a lot more because he found this quite an approachable place to start from.
While it isn’t always in my top go-to drams list (not for any particular reason; I just find others suiting my tastebuds more) I loved last year’s slightly bolder, virgin oak cask matured release. It was characteristically soft and luscious, but with a greater amount of latent spice and fruitiness that really kicked it to the next level for me.
It also guided me away from thinking of this whisky brand as being a lighter, gentler spirit and the latest release continues that theme even more. The Auchentoshan 1988 Wine Cask Finish is actually more of a whisky that’s undergone what I would consider a secondary maturation since it’s ‘finishing’ period was actually 17 years in first fill barriques from Bordeaux.
Here are my thoughts on the whisky, which I was kindly sent a sample of:
(n): Wonderfully intense for an Auchentoshan – there’s a lovely wine note but it is in no way overwhelming, which surprised me given the long time it spent in these types of casks. Chocolate and red fruit (fresh cranberries and red currants) follows, before fresh oak, strawberry foam, orange peel and nutmeg.
(p): Rich and seductive: the wine is there to give it bold fruity notes but it hasn’t hidden the lovely whisky. Raspberry coulis and black liquorice, alongside nutty pecans and sticky brown sugar.
(f): Long finish of wine and spice.
In conclusion: This really pumps up Auchentoshan and I love it. Fruity, indulgent, fun – a winner.