#408 • Auchentoshan American Oak

40% alc./vol.
Auchentoshan Distillery, Dalmuir, Lowlands, Scotland

In 2015, Beam Suntory followed suit at his Lowlands distillery, Auchentoshan, as to the increasingly inexorable fashion of the removal of the age mark on its traffic jams. We are talking here about an entry-level expression based on, besides being like all others of the same brand resulting from a triple distillation, an aging done entirely in American oak barrels of prime filling.

As the Irish writer Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde said so well, or simply Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) said so well:

Niagara Falls is only the second big disappointment of the honeymoon.

Golden yellow pulling hard and misery on pumpkin pie.

Vanilla, lemon and barley still pleasant. I am pleasantly surprised to find less the usual dirty bag of lowlands than I expected.

Spicy oak rather discreet. Return of vanilla with a small wave of fennel. Few lemon and meringue. Not great, but not horrible either.

Short and dry, on some volatile spices and a passing honeycomb.

Another sad NAS, no more, but who does not take for another either. Will please the neophyte, but the connoisseur will not be satisfied. At best a Wednesday night whiskey.

Note: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

#302 • Auchentoshan Valinch 2012

57.2% alc./vol.
Auchentoshan Distillery, Dalmuir, Lowlands, Scotland

Almost a year ago, as part of a tasting on "travel memories", we were treated to Scotch Whiskey Club of Quebec to a new grind of this expression cask strength lowlands, the Auchentoshan Valinch 2012.

Without mention of age, it is a special edition of the Classic that holds 57.2% alcohol.

The name Valinch originates, of course, once again from Scottish Gaelic. This is the name given to the giant pipette used to extract samples of whiskey from the barrel to taste to see if it is ready or not.

As the Dutch painter and cartoonist put it so well Vincent Willem van Gogh (1853-1890) so aptly put it:

When we have no memory, we repeat ourselves: when we have some, we repeat others.

Ultra light gold.

Moist cereals and pseudo-pocket typical of the distillery. Lemon and many other citrus fruits under a layer of meringue, varnish and nuts. An example of a love-hate nose.

Spicy honey and salted caramel. Berries bathed in chocolates filled with liquor.

Short finish with notes of vanilla, cherry blossom and icing sugar left on the counter for a few days.

Most of my colleagues will tell you that it's shit, but I still salute Auchentoshan for the audacity of their cask strength, even though the 2011 is better.

Note: ★★★★★