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Auchentoshan Classic Bourbon Oak Cask


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@vanPeltReview by @vanPelt

12th May 2013


Auchentoshan Classic Bourbon Oak Cask
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Nose: Very light even compared to other light whiskies; you need to search for the aromas. If you do, the first impression is maple and wood. Once this clears (a couple minutes), it is fresh as bleach-- but hints of a pitted fruit jam, on slice of buttered bread. At first you can't tell whether the jam is apricot or peach... later it is more clearly peach, a little sour (like a green apple). For a moment the peach seems coupled with freshly washed blueberries. With more time, vanilla joins with the unsalted butter on wheat toast. I find the nose the best part of the experience; although very light, it qualifies as fresh.

Palate: Sour-bitter-tannic notes from the oak-- a little like sour milk or green apple skin. The peaches that were in the nose are revealed to be very underripe; so they are bitter, hard and white. Horseradish may come through the nose while swallowing.

Finish: Bitter underripe white peach, still. With oak flavors and a slightly metallic (back-of-the-tongue) flavor like underripe pineapple. Grass might make a fine aroma, but it is less welcome in the mouth. If you wait too long, there is a drying effect on the teeth like after drinking cranberry juice.

Does "Classic" refer to a recipe from the 1500s? There is not a lot to really "appreciate" about this malt, except the freshness of the nose. The closest that I have tried was the unimpressive Balmenach 10 (my review of the Duncan Taylor NC2). Otherwise, my closest association is the Auchentoshan Select, which I can recommend as a more refreshing palate cleanser with less bitterness. The Select also has a deeper nose (with more toffee/vanilla) in comparison, despite being one of the lightest that I know of. I reviewed the Select as 'green apple'; by analogy, the Classic is 'underripe white peach'. Both have refreshing aromas, but the Classic is lighter and more bitter. To give a positive angle, I imagine it best used as a garden-party social drink; not paying much attention to dissecting it, conversing without worrying about spilling money, serving it chilled or maybe even gulping it in shots. Otherwise: underripe, underwhelming.

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