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Well, TIFF is finally almost over (two more screenings tonight, and then we're done), but I had some time this afternoon to write this one up. I'll dedicate this dram to Peter Stebbings' film Empire of Dirt, which won a special citation at TIFF today for the three lead actors. Congratulations!
While the Classic is the more entry-level Auchentoshan, it is not one you can get here in Ontario. So the 12 Year Old is much more ubiquitous here.
The colour is a dark honey. On the nose, lots of vanilla and toffee, roasted almonds, marzipan, and some dark fruits in the background. Significant sherry cask influence, which is more prevalent with a drop of water. A slight hint of mint. Very nice and delicate, but also straightforward.
On the palate, more dark fruits, Christmas cake and baked apples (some cherries as well). More vanilla and toffee. Spicy, with pepper and ginger. Smoother with water. Also very nice - and straightforward.
The finish is rather gentle but lengthy, with more herbs - slightly bitter, but in a good way. I've always been hit-and-miss with Auchentoshan - I don't like the Three Wood, love the 2011 Valinch but find their other limited editions all over the place. But for a standard malt, this is very good. Nothing outstanding, but is an excellent representation of the smooth, clean and flavourful distillery character. Jim Murray rates this a 91.5 - I wouldn't go that high, as it doesn't bring anything new to the table, besides being a well-done, decent, satisfying malt.