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This one was something of an impulse buy, purchased during a whisky shopping spree when I had a few bucks left for one more cheap bottle. In retrospect, I wish I’d spent the same money for some Sheep Dip or Black Bottle. I’ve tasted enough Auchentoshan to know that they can produce excellent whisky (I enjoy the Valinch greatly, for instance), but I think they have a lot of chutzpah to call this one a “classic.”
Nose: The only semi-decent part of the experience. It’s young, woody, rough, and chemical-y, but there’s also some nice citrus, vanilla, and sour apple. The Classic has some promise at this point, but, oh, the horrors to come…
Palate: All downhill from here, I’m afraid. The flavors that struggle to emerge should never share the same space on my tongue. Lemons, sour milk, yeasty bread, furniture polish, hints of chocolate and mint, and what I can only describe as something harsh, metallic, and artificial. Tastes like it was aged (barely) in barrels made of fresh-cut green wood.
Finish: Ack! Ptui! The only whisky I’ve ever tried that made me yearn for a spittoon. Like rotten apple peelings mixed with cardboard, bug spray, and ipecac. And again, plenty of green wood.
For the life of me, I can’t figure out why many reviewers refer to Auchentoshan Classic as a “good entry-level malt” or an “easy everyday dram.” I think this would inspire whisky newcomers to a life of teetotaling, and you’d have to bribe me with Bill Gates’ bank account to get me to drink this every day.
I usually try to be positive in my reviews, which focus mainly on whiskies I like. But this stuff is so widely available, and with such a tempting low price, that I thought a few cautionary words were in order. Out of about 70 bottles in my cabinet, this is the only one I’d regard as a truly bad whisky, and one I may never finish. Unless my only goal for the evening is to get roaring drunk (which happens about every eight years) and flavor is of low priority.