Auchtentoshan Distillery Tasting Notes

Posted: August 16, 2011 in Auchtentoshan

Auchentoshan New Make 63.5%

Tasted: Oct 2009

An extremely clean nose. It has unsurprisingly that ‘off the still’ cereal character as well as a strong rose petal marc note. However it has quiet a perfumed character with hints of granite, citrus and developing botanicals. The palate is oily and delicate, obviously very similarto the nose. The rose petal marc is particularly strong on the middle and maybe there is a suggestion of yellow fruit and spice. Good length.

With water a resiny almost pine like note appears on the nose, as does a gun smoke/ flint/ sulphur-ish note. The palate has become quiet sweeter with the cereal taking on a more ‘mashy’ texture and it is now showing a greater degree of fruity esters, especially citrus. Strange but after being in the glass for 30-45 minutes, it had almost degraded. The rose petalaromas/ flavours had developed a definite decaying character and it had become quiet manurey.

Auchentoshan 1 year old 63%

Bourbon/ Tasted: Oct 2009

Fresh bourbon I would imagine as the oak (aromas arrive and pass like a speeding bullet. Then the marc rose petal character comes through, which like the new make is quiet concentrated. There is a hint the citrus andparmaviolets. The palate is quiet oily, with less oak character. Very intense and alcoholic with the rose petal flavours being joined by some lovely pure white pepper, whilst the citrus has taken on a greater zestiness. The oak really dries out the finish.

Water really emphasises the rose petal marc, whilst the oakaromas completely disappear. Odd, I would have expected water to do exactly the opposite. On the palate it doesn’t make any significant changes.

Auchentoshan 2 year old 62.3%

Oloroso/ Tasted: Oct 2009

Incredibly smoky. One can really smell the charring of the wood. Again I would say it’s a fresh, dry Oloroso as it’s very grapey with hints of treacle, toffee, dried fruit and moist fruit cake along with a candied sweetness to thearomas. Spotlessly clean, this shows an that they have an excellent cask selection programme. However the ‘distillery character’ is unsurprisingly nowhere to be seen. The palate is surprisingly soft, although there is an abundance of wood tannins and alcohol, with the flavours mirroring the nose. Unctuous and clean with the marc like notes just pushing away through on the finish.

A drop of water makes the gun smoke/ flint/ sulphur-ish note that was evident in the new make put in an appearance and maybe there is an ever so fleeting cardboard note, then its whoosh – sherry! On the palate there is not much change except that it increases the candied sweetness.

Auchentoshan 10 year old 40%

Tasted: Mar2004

Fresh aromas of citrus lighten a heavily sherried nose. Hints of honey amongst the dried fruit. The palate is soft and sweet with the oak showing first followed by some citrus and flower petal notes. A pleasant wood finish.

Auchentoshan 1999 (11 years old) 58%

BordeauxCask Matured

Tasted: Feb 2012

A clean, leafy, herbal Oloroso-esque nose displaying plenty of dried fruit, which moves in a boiled sweet direction. A touch of mature honey and late hints of vanilla/ marzipan with some delightful peppery spice at the edges. Water brings out a slight damp earth note.

Oily and quite tannic with what appears to be sherried spice (tasted blind) and ground coffee. The piquant alcohol makes the mouth water. All cask, but pleasantly clean. Water emphasises the oils.  Good length with a boiled sweet/ confected finish. Conclusion: Pleasant, clean, just lacking some distillery character.

Auchentoshan 1999 (11 years old) 58%

BordeauxCask Matured

Tasted: Mar 2012

An edgy nose of dried, spicy fruit with a slight perfumed or possibly sulphured note. A bit odd, confected, boiled sweets and some old-ish wood spice. Water makes it a bit weak and oily.

The palate is rather alcoholic, dry and austere. Tannic and sherried, verging on the sulphured, oh and there’s a touch of dried fruit. Water makes it a tad dull. An intense and alcoholic finish with some peppery marc notes in the finish. [Obviously I was in a less generous mood!!!]

Auchentoshan 12 year old 40%

Tasted: Apr 2009

Quiet a deep, oily nose of nutty sherry wood. It develops a touch of marc-like straw (obvious distillery character). The sherry is spotless and has a pleasant degree of fruit, cereal, earth and dunnage floor notes. The palate is soft and quiet juicy, opening with the sherry wood. Again there’s a hint of marc-spirit, which follows through to the finish. It’s a bit short and kind of one dimensional. A pleasant nose if you like a sherried dram but nothing to get excited about on the palate.

Auchentoshan 18 year old 43%

Tasted: Oct 2009

The nose is very similar to the 12 year old, but they have obviously used a lager quantity of sherry casks in this vatting as there is greater degree of coffee-toffee wood notes evident. It has probably more depth and guts than the 12, displaying a candied barley sugarinsinuation although over time a sort of smoky/ plasticaroma appears.

The palate is very disappointing having been flattened by the addition of caramel (check the farven justeret med caramel note on the back label – Danish for colour adjusted with caramel). It is slightly oily and prickly, gutless, quiet watery with a sugary-candied sweetness along with that gun smoke/ flint/ sulphur-ish note. Why the caramel? It has destroyed a perfectly ok whisky.

Auchentoshan 1978 (18 year old) 58.8%

Bottled in 1997, non chill filtered/ A vatting of 13 casks – 2952-57 and 4365-71/ Tasted: Oct 2009

A clean, leafy Oloroso nose. Lightly oily with hints of almond/ marzipan along with a slight candied note and alcohol. Essentially it is just wood and alcohol – Very good wood though! The palate is dry with dusty tannins and sherry wood. The alcohol adds to that drying sensation and almost burns. The wood and alcohol totally overwhelms and it isn’t until they dissipate that the candied orange peel, sweet almond and some ‘distillery character’ gets a chance to show.

Water brings out that candied orange peelaroma along with some dusty spices. The complexity of this dram become more apparent now that the alcohol has been tamed and it is now rather pleasant with hints of violets and gingerbread. Likewise the palate has softened, allowing the light orange fruit and gingerbread notes to show. The distillery-marc like character appears on the middle and it languidly drifts into a long spicy finish. Still possibly a tad too sweet for my liking but water gives it a better balance and keeps the sweetness under control.

Auchentoshan Valinch 2011 57.5%

Tasted: Feb 2012

A soft, floral nose of white fruit along with a hint of grass and softly sugared marc-like notes. Develops aromas of almond and cinnamon. Lovely depth. With water it becomes less complex and more subtle.

The palate opens with soft barley and crisp honey with a touch of sugared almond and marc notes. Intensely alcoholic which leads into rose water and Turkish delight. With water it becomes softer and oiler, showing a tad more maturity now and some dried grass notes. Long, with some late spice and lingering rose water notes. Conclusion: A lovely, charming Lowland. Probably a vatting as with water it definitely shows some maturity.

Auchentoshan Valinch 2012 57.2%

Tasted: Jan 2013

Nose: The nose displays quite a mature spirit character. Lightly oiled with a developing boiled sweet note and absolutely loads of pepper. Some youthful citrus nips at the edges adding a touch of lime juice. With water it becomes very immature and a bit muted.

Palate: The palate is soft but quite drying with some fleshy apricot and straw. Like the nose there is some mature spirit at work here and that peppery bite is distinctly Tequila-esque! Water bring out some unsweetened pineapple, banana and apricot. Oiler now with a good barley richness.

Finish: Quite peppery (surprise!) and dry but long. Diluted it becomes oilier and finishes with some soft rose petal marc notes.

Conclusion: Very natural and very peppery!

Auchentoshan Virgin Oak 46%

Tasted: Sept 2013

An intensely deep and spicy nose with plenty of toasty oak, but it seems to have brought the spiciness of the spirit out rather than blanketing it. In fact the spirit stands up really well to the oak and some trademark rose petal and Turkish delight notes appear along with hints of strawberry, barley, chocolate and caramel. Very appealing.

The intense but gently toasted oak leads off with chocolate and caramel notes but like the nose the Turkish delight and sweet strawberry, apricot and berry fruits are not far behind. Lovely, gentle spiciness with a touch of rose petals. A huge, soft and sweetly spiced middle. Yes the oak is big, but the spirit really balances it amazingly well, Very long the chocolate and caramel notes returning.

Auchentoshan American Oak 40%

Tasted: Sept 2015

First Fill American Oak

Classic, high toned ‘Toshan aromas of violets, rose petals and boiled sweets. A little marc-like which shows its relative youth along with sweet barley and hints of vanilla and toasted oak.

The palate shows a little more honey and barley. The American oak adds a lovely toasty thickness. Again hints of boiled sweets, rose petals and gentle, sweet spice come through on the middle. Long and vanilla’d with the tannins slightly bittering but balanced by the sweetness of the spirit. Now that’s how I like my ‘Toshan!

  1. Keiron says:

    I remember that night. I can still pick Auchy out from a number of drams. We did get through a few that’s for sure. Have to ask why the caramel in the standard bottlings? Perhaps for marketing purposes?

  2. gauntleys says:

    Yes I remember it too! Why caramel, probably to make it appear older than it is. From what i can remember it didn’t make a lot of difference to the taste of them!

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