I felt the first Bartender’s Malt was somewhat mediocre and should be seen only as a malt to be used in cocktails. Last year the second edition finally arrived, again the result of a so-called New Malt Order contest. Twelve bartenders from five different countries were responsible for the composition. The youngest in the mix is 6 years old, while the oldest is more than 40! Again a whole range of casks was used and it was bottled at 50%.
The nose is surprisingly creamy on honey, butterscotch, chocolate mousse (!) and tobacco leaves. This is special and good fun. I also get some dried apricots, marshmallow and cherries. A lot is going on here! Playful, atypical and still top notch Auchentoshan in my book. It has that delicate trace of citrus and freshly cut grass, but so much more besides. This is really good!
It remains delicate and sweet on the palate. The cherries return, upholstered with some black pepper and a touch of ginger. Then some cinnamon and even some saffron emerge. Some nuts appear, cherry blossoms and Sunday morning pastries. And all of a sudden it reminds me a bit of old port, but in the end it’s the oranges that take charge. Very surprising Auchentoshan, but I am a fan!
The finish remains sweet and warm on blood oranges.
What a great vatting, so much better than the first edition. And I also very much like the strength. This one will work wonders in a cocktail – for which it was designed – but is also neat a belter of an Auchentoshan!