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Having been inspired to review my miniature of Auchentoshan 18 by @Markjedi1, it was suggested to me that I try the Valinch. Sadly, it is no longer available, but @Astroke came to the rescue (twice now – the first time as a vital link in the delivery chain of a now unavailable bottle from Nova Scotia) with a sample of the 2011 expression, which I review for you now.
I don’t have any other information other than the batch year and ABV. The specific provenance of the bottle itself remains a closely–guarded secret. 18 years in oak, good. What about fewer years and higher ABV? Let’s see:
This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
Nose: Starts off with intense fruit. Rich nose. Baking spices, vanilla, sweet caramel. No harsh Ethanol notes as can be found in some “young-uns”. Very clean. Water doesn’t affect it.22/25
Very spirity. Quite the alcohol spiciness. Underneath I get the continuation of the fruitiness from the nose. The flavours are concentrated and hard to identify individually. I get a dry white wine, maybe an oaked chardonnay. Something savoury. A hint of “whisky pop-rocks” (- term attributed to @Paddockjudge) on the back palate. 21/25. Water turns the alcohol heat into a more pleasant pepperiness, and brings out the fruit. (22/25)
Medium long. Astringent, a little sour. It’s missing something. Not something I would fancy holding on to for too long. 20/25 A little shorter and more pleasant with water. (21/25)
A little hot on the palate but underneath the nose and taste complement each other. 21/25 Water slightly improves it. (21.5/25)
Score: Neat - 84/100 With Water: 86.5 /100
I kind-of regret not discovering Auchentoshan earlier in my whisky career, when some of these expressions were less expensive and more readily available.