A finish on wine casks is always a bit tricky, but Auchentoshan is in my (un)modest opinion one of the few distilleries that manages to do well. And while I've tasted a lot of them, this 17-year-old, bottled in 2002, is one of their first releases on Saint Julien barrels from the Bordeaux. For the geeks among us: first 8 years on bourbon barrels and then 9 years on barrels of Ducru-Beaucaillou and Leoville-Las-Cases. Actually, that's more of a double maturation than a finish, right? And I hadn't tasted this one yet! Thanks to a friendly couple from the Netherlands, I also do not have to open the bottle from my collection, because they gave me a generous sample.
The malt enjoys being able to breathe for a while, so give it some time. After a good two minutes I get candied fruit, pineapple on the BBQ, Seville oranges and fritters at the fair! Something of menthol and toffee, nicely balanced with the tannins of the wine barrel. Excellent balance.
Great body. Mouth-filling and rich. Immediately tasty spicy on cloves, cinnamon and oregano, then again pineapple on the BBQ and quite a bit of woodsmoke. The oranges return, supplemented with a basket of red fruit. But also the fritters are present again, which I find funny. And delicious!
The aftertaste is long, nicely seasoned and slightly drying towards the end.
I told you, at Auchentoshan they get this right. Very tasty. Thank you, Gwen & Richard!