What was the occasion? A few months ago, for my birthday, I went out for some whiskies. I had just gotten over parts of long-Covid that had killed my taste buds and sense of smell. Within one week of celebrating I would injure myself while curling, and end up not being able to write it up.
No, no, I don’t have any residual hate towards my unlucky streak, why do you ask?
What whisky did we review? Auchentoshan 21 1975 Selected Cask Vatting is a special original bottling from the distillery from 1997 where a selection of casks (or a bunch of whiskies if you will) from Auchentoshan were vatted (mixed) to make this cask strength release.
What’s the distillery? Auchentoshan is a Lowland distillery that triple distills and follows a floral and citrus forward flavour profile that the Lowlands are known for. I’ve heard, from people smarter than me, that they used to have a bit of industrial notes.
What’s my bias? The Lowland region holds a special space in my heart, not just due to fatty cells there from drinking, but also due to my weird obsession with drinking flowers. I also like what triple distillation can do to a mouthfeel, adding industrial elements. I go through periods of time where I crave acidic flavours in my food as I grew up in a household where they popped up rarely and I love those flavours.
Yes, I will get in your van if you have really good lemon squares.
So let’s see how I liked this whisky, shall we?
Price: € 420
Colour: 10R 5/14
Nose: Honey, butterscotch, clay, honeydew melon, cinnamon
Floral, sweet, some earth, some generic notes. It’s really light. Like “this isn’t cask strength” light.
For those of you who showed up late to the Scotch party, cask strength Auchentoshan versus standard watered down offering Auchentoshan are two different animals. We’re talking about a bear and a beaver. Sure, they both have fur and claws, but if you’re out hunting in a shallow river you’re going to react to them differently.
Taste: Toast, mesquite, red licorice, anise, lemon
Think a fruity, maybe smoke and somewhat acidic Irish whiskey. Again, no real surprises, and at this point I’m happy that it’s not as weak as the nose. Different than newer Auchentoshan that lean into my love of drinking Pot-pourri, and more like a Campbeltown we now get with rougher aspects.
So I’m happy, all that is to say I find this tasty. Jesus, brevity is the soul of wit and I’m writing like a South Park redhead.
Finish: Hazelnut, brine, honey, wood/heather, faint lime
Nutty, floral, some brine, and less acidity. It’s going hard on the floral aspects, rather balanced and more woody or salty than the rest.
Conclusion: It’s a cask strength Auchentoshan for non-Auchentoshan fans. So if you’ve had enough Auchentoshan, this one is for you. If you haven’t, then maybe not? Or maybe so?
It’s an odd whisky, that’s for certain. They don’t typically make them like this. The nose really made me wonder if I should have skipped over this region for what I was drinking, and then it comes back around.
Would I hunt this down? Probably only for a dram. At the end of the day this seems like it’s only slightly different enough to be interesting, but only to hardcore Auchentoshan fans. Since I represent 1/10th of them, I don’t know what the other 9 will do about that, but hopefully they can enjoy it too.
Scotch review #1612, Lowland review #68, Whisky Network review #2339