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In April 2011 I already enjoyed a 31 Year Old Auchentoshan from the Distillery Archive. It was bourbon hogshead 803. Thanks to a collector in Germany, I was able to get my hands on a sample from a sister cask, bourbon hogshead 801. The ABV is a bit lower at 47,5% (against 49,5% of cask 803). This one was distilled on 14th March 1966 (almost 4 years before my birth) and bottled in 1997.
The nose reveals apricots on honey, mint and lime, wild flowers, a slice of pineapple and some gooseberries. A touch of woodspice. A little waxy. And a hint of smoke. It needs some time to settle down in the glass, but hey, after 31 years in a cask and then 14 years in a bottle, surely you can spare this baby twenty minutes, right?
When rolling over the tongue, you will find this very creamy with sweet malt and citrus in the lead, mildly spicy, nicely balanced against the oak that gives it a bitter lining. Something dusty. Not very complex, but very nice all the same.
The finish is rather short and drying, bittersweet. The hint of smoke returns.
A pleasant, classic Toshan, but doesn’t come close to sister cask 803. Good, sure, but it lacks some punch.