Well, well, well... brand new Independent Bottler of the Year North Star Spirits (yes, for the second year in a row, congratulations, Iain!) bottled an Auchentoshan for the first time last summer. How about at that? And it has become a young lad of barely 13 years old, that was allowed to keep his beauty sleep on an oloroso hogshead. In July 2021, this resulted in 330 bottles at 55% ABV. Fan of both Auchentoshan and North Star Spirits, I of course could not pass up on this one.
Well, that nose is particularly funky at first. I get peanut butter, hazelnuts and leather on the nose, as well as some vase water (oops!) and green garden herbs. Surprisingly umami and not exactly what you would associate with this Triple Distilled Lowlander. It takes a lot of getting used to. But... give it time. Pour it and let it breathe for 5 minutes. Then it becomes a bombshell... Citrus, eagle fern, peanuts. The latter really takes some getting used to, but it does work.
On the palate the DNA of Auchentoshan is immediately present, which comes as some sort of relief. It's like homecoming for me. Nice and oily and spicy with citrus, apple juice, milk chocolate with hazelnuts, bitter orange jam (delicious!) and butterscotch. Something of beef jerky, too. It remains a bit umami, really. And it's hard work in all honesty. Hard work in fact! But if you're willing to make time for it, you'll notice that this is secretly a great Auchentoshan after all.
The finish is long, spicy, satisfying on peanut butter, brown toast with orange jam.
Four tasting sessions, Iain, four! That’s what I needed that to understand and appreciate this Auchentoshan. So it's not a Toshan to carelessly put on the table. It's a conversation piece, but very worthwhile. Thanks to my brother Manny who scored the bottle for me. I'll keep something aside, mate, because we have to re-examine this one together!