As some of you may remember not too long ago I stopped by the Auchentoshan Distillery for a tour – you can see my review of the tour here – and while there I relieved them of a bottle of their current distillery cask. In my write up of the tour I mentioned that I would do a review of their distillery cask, and being the honest gent that I am I keep my promises – especially when those promises include whisky!
The particular cask in question is cask #934, and it is a first fill Oloroso Butt. Filled on the 23rd of September 2004 it was bottled from the cask on the day of my visit, the 20th of May 2016, so it’s about eleven and a half years old. It’s bottled at natural cask strength, 59.6%, and is natural colour and Unchillfiltered. The colour of this dram is incredible; it’s so dark and promising and just screams sherry monster at you before you even begin – usually I wouldn’t even comment on the colour of whiskies due to the amount of caramel colouring most companies use nowadays, but being straight from the cask it’s all natural. So now that all the cask info is out of the way let’s get down to the good bit, the drinking!
This whisky has a very big nose, immediately there is a huge scent of very sweet raisins and dates, followed shortly by a hit of spirit. For being bottled at 59.6% ABV it’s remarkably gentle on the nose. This dram demands time to sit and nose because there is just so much going on. After the raisins there is a strong note of treacle joined by fresh roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate – really dark and fruity chocolate. With time it opens up and more fruit battles its way through, mainly dark fruits such as cherries, raisins and rich berries, with a note of sweet sherry running through it. This is certainly a contender for one of the best nosing sherried drams I have ever tried!
The palate is nowhere near as intense as the nose – though that nose is a very hard act to follow! There is a strong, almost fizzy, wood note that runs through the palate, it’s really tannic and drying. Think well-seasoned oak that has been steeped in sherry, and over-brewed breakfast tea. Lots of alcohol present here too, though that is to be expected for it being bottled at cask strength. With a few drops of water more of the aromas from the nose begin to come through in the palate. This whisky is thick with sticky sweet treacle and dark chocolate. There is also candied orange and again dark fruits, with a heavy dose of sherry running accompanying it.
The finish is long and warming, with raisins soaked in treacle. Again dark chocolate and freshly ground coffee. There is also wood spices finally beginning to come through in the finish, which leave a nice lashing of cinnamon and ginger on the tongue as the flavours fade away. All in all the finish is dark and intense as this dram has been from start to finish.
If you are ever in the Glasgow area and have a spare few hours then I would definitely recommend taking a trip over to Auchentoshan, if not for the tour then just to get a try of this whisky. It is a really excellently matured sherry cask monster, with a lot to offer for the price of it.