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.
Next morning the empty glass smells distinctly of butterscotch.
I'm glad you got the opportunity to try this!