Went to The Feathers Pub for my belated birthday. In my family, we don’t really love you if we celebrate your birthday on the day you were born. It’s against the rules.
Also December is busy as fuck.
With my father paying and my cousins nicely coming along, we ate English food (that I love) and I drank (which I’m mostly fond of).
These are the big guns.
A few nights ago I started off a tasting at Feathers I was running (humblebrag) and mentioned that I love Lowlands, which surprises people.
The reason is a lot of us don’t enjoy them is for a few reasons:
- Currently there are only 7 distilleries left in the Lowlands. Of them, three started in the aughts (the 2000s), two others are older but one of them just released an OB, one is owned by Diageo and I have nothing to say about the last one.
- Historically the Lowlands were known for grain whisky and they were home to some of the distilleries that made people go blind
- A lot of the accessible stuff is not cask strength.
Mix that all together and what do you get? Generally not a lot of people are drinking it. Or enjoying it. Or knowing it as that “floral one”.
Granted given some of the recent reviews, cask strength does it justice. It’s meant to be aged a little longer, finished nicely, or generally given time to be bombastic, like being beaten up by laundry rooms and bakers.
Thus why I picked Auchentoshan 25 1978. It’s an original bottling. And I can find all the information in the world on the 18 and 30 year old versions, and jack diddly squat on this one.
So let’s see how it tastes?
Price: No longer available
Year of Distillation: 1978
Date Distilled: 31.08.78
Cask Number: 2750
Cask Type: Hogshead
Colour: 10YR 7/8
Nose: Lemon, soda water, caramel, fresh linen, basil, plum, curry, cucumber
Light nose. Takes some time to open up. Compared to the 21 OB, this has a lighter, though similar to the Auchentoshan profile.
More earth elements this time over others. The floral aspect is downplayed, and there’s more mineral to it.
Taste: Orange, caramel, mushroom risotto, lime, violets
Big earth and butter notes here. The floral aspect comes in. The whole damn flower bed and maybe the old lady with it, right to the face.
While it’s not as complex, the flavours here pop more than the nose. It’s closer to a bourbon in that way.
Finish: Cardamon, digestive cookies, oatmeal cookies, buttered scones, ginger, mint, rose water
Long finish. Super long. While the rest was teasing at a low active cask, the finish reminds you this is 25 years old. Probably by going out, getting a job, putting off having a family, and generally finding itself.
Granted it’s Gen X, so as a Millennial I may be wrong on that.
Big spices, big baked goods, and tons of butter. Really nice finish.
Conclusion: This is one of those surprise drams. The nose leads you to believe you’ve wasted your time. The taste reminds me of a Scotsman doing a bourbon: Nothing overly complex, but each flavour is on point.
And then the finish slaps you around like the bitch that you are for doubting it.
Is it the best Auchentoshan I’ve ever had? No, but it’s certainly the best old one I’ve had. And it’s certainly something impressive, if the main part of the whole show.
Try this if you get the chance.
Scotch review #554, Lowland review #30, Whisky Network review #914