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On 30 December 1988 Auchentoshan filled a number of casks, including this bourbon hogshead 4441. At the age of 15, it was bottled at an ABV of 59,2%. Cask 4445 was bottled at the age of 16 as a single cask at an ABV of 58,9%. Two years after that, another sister cask, bourbon hogshead 4446, would be bottled - exclusively for Belgium - at the age of 18 at an ABV of 53,9%. Let's see if the youngest of the three is to our liking.
The nose is delicate and light, with pear, vanilla en sweeted cookies - and of a completely different caliber than the expressions from the prior decennium. If the Old Style Toshans are the heavyweights, then this is the bantam version (for those who have no idea what I'm talking about, these are terms used in boxing - with which I have absolutely no affinity whatsoever). After several minutes I detect a pleasant trace of smoke and something meaty - aromas that are boosted by adding a bit of water. I'm still somewhat baffled finding this in whiskies from Auchentoshan.
The attack is quite spicy and fruity (pear syrup). Hot, even. But the addition of a bit of water renders him very sweet. Next to the pears, I also get green apples and purple winegums on the palate. Is that a touch of pineapple as well?
The undiluted finish is heartwarming, but rather short and drying. Strangely enough, the finish becomes much more intense (and less drying) when diluted.
This Toshan is quite different from the old style. Lighter, less complex but still good. This one is also part of the Official Distillery Archive, but to me this is a sneaky intruder.