When people describe the classic Scottish whisky regions, the Lowlands area is almost always characterised as producing light, gentle and easily accessible for new whisky drinkers.
In a large part, I do agree with this. So, what a treat it was when I sampled this new Auchentoshan from 1975 and discovered a rich, multi-dimensional and complex dram with a lot more might than your standard, gentle Lowland release.
The whisky is being released in very limited quantities – 500 bottles – to the travel retail (duty free) market and continues a series brought out by the company of whiskies from the 1970s, such as the Auchentoshan 1979 ex-sherry cask matured and a 1974 ex-bourbon cask matured whisky.
This whisky has spent its life in ex-bourbon casks and is bottled at the relatively punchy strength of 45.6%.
Here’s what I thought of the sample I was sent:
Auchentoshan 1975: 45.6%:
(c): Golden honey
(n): Feels rounded as soon as I nose it – lots of layers going on there. To start, I pick up flower blossoms (I want to say honeysuckle and sweet peas) before getting some ‘yellow’ fruits (tinned peaches, dried apricots and lemon peel). There is a dose of vanilla sugar and something a bit darker too that I can’t quite place my finger on (maybe sticky toffee). Alluring.
(p): Quite grainy on the palate, initially darker than anticipated. It’s wonderfully layered, running from banana skins to dried apricots then vanilla ice cream and finally butterscotch. Balanced, intriguing, multi-dimensional and delicious. Hardly any alcoholic bite to it. Don’t want to water it down, in actual fact, as the concentration of flavours is wonderful here.
(f): Pepper and peaches
This is certainly a treat from Auchentoshan. It’s mightier and more powerful than standard releases. What I loved about it was that everytime I went back to it, something new emerged, a bit like Highland Park’s Loki release from last year, which I loved. Always shifting and changing in the glass, this would be one to savour slowly.