Darkness is a series from Master of Malt in which the whisky is finished for at least three months in small sherry octave casks. In their own words: ‘subtlety, poise and elegance have no place here.’ The small casks obviously mean there is a lot of contact between the spirit and the wood. Let me do the test with my favorite Lowlander that matured for no less than 26 years on a bourbon cask before hibernation some three months on the small sherry cask.
The delicate character of Auchentoshan shines through, but it clearly overpowered by dark and sweet notes of caramelized wood. Then some surprisingly clear notes of gooseberries and black grapes, poached pears and oranges. Hint of walnuts. But it is a lot less ‘dark’ than I expected.
Good body, sticks to your teeth. I do not recognize my favorite Lowlander on the palate whatsoever. Is that a bad thing? Of course not. Is this any good? Well… not particularly. Sweet, sour and slightly bitter, it has lost most of its fruitiness and the emphasis is on tannins. The wood dominates, which does not make me happy. Some forgotten tea making it quite herbal.
The finish is medium long on plum juice and wood.
Disappointment is too strong a term, but I would have expected a 26 years old Toshan to perform much better. More depth, less sharp edges. Luckily I could buy this in my neck of the woods for 100 EUR. I’ve seen it in neighboring countries for almost double that. Crazy.