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Auchentoshan Classic Bourbon Oak Cask

Wicked, vile stuff

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@WhiskyBeeReview by @WhiskyBee

5th Jan 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

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.

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Victor commented

@WhiskyBee, it is a public service for a measured critic like yourself to point out a druly bad dram, and I was drawn immediately to your pointed title, given that you are generally quite measured in your approach. Interesting, isn't it that Auchentoshan Classic is supposedly the diluted form of Auchentoshan Valinch?

I've avoided buying this bottle for years because of its reputation. As Mr. Murray puts it: "Classic what exactly...?"

And yes, a good blended malt or a good blended Scotch is a great expenditure choice compared to a questionable malt.

10 years ago 0

WhiskyBee commented

@Victor, I knew that the Classic was supposed to be "Valinch, Jr.", if you will, so I thought I was taking a calculated risk, despite the mostly negative reviews I've read. The higher concentration in the Valinch seems to bring out the best elements and subdue the nasty ones.

I may experiment to see if the Classic is palatable in cocktails, but I'm not holding my breath. Oh well...I suppose I've wasted 30 bucks in ways more foolish, so chalk this one up to a learning experience.

10 years ago 0

Victor commented

Vatting experiments often give some improvement. I find that a weak and somewhat off whisky may go fine 50/50 with the universal solvent in such cases, Grant's Family Reserve. Helps me use that 1.75 handle of it that I have. It won't be as good as Grant's alone, but it will probably make what you have drinkable.

10 years ago 0

CanadianNinja commented

Thanks for the laughs! This is what I want to hear if the whisky warrants such a response. I don't like it when reviewers hold back or try to sugarcoat, if it's god awful than say 'It's god awful!'. Like Victor, I've also been avoiding this bottle because of it's consistently bad reviews.

... After reading this, you have just solidified by refusal to pick up a bottle of this stuff! Thanks.

10 years ago 0

PeatyZealot commented

Tried it in a bar and thought it was the least tasty Single Malt I ever had, together with Knockando (No can do whiskymaking:)

10 years ago 0

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