Auchentoshan, the Lowland Scotch distiller with the signature triple-distillation process, has added another vintage malt—1998—to its collection of limited edition pours. This cask-strength, non-chill-filtered version offers the chance to taste an Auchentoshan that’s only been aged in Fino Sherry casks.
The 1998 Sherry Cask Matured Limited Edition may surprise those familiar with the light style of Auchentoshan—and for that matter all of the Lowlands—with its expressive flavor profile. While not truly straying from the hallmark mild-body character of the distillery, it manages to finesse loads of bright, tangy fruit, sweetness and spice that linger long in the mouth.
The core range of Auchentoshan includes Bourbon-matured whiskies as well as some crossing of casks, like the Three Wood (Bourbon and two types of Sherry), but has no pure Sherry expression. The Limited Edition group presents two other strictly Sherry vintages (1957 and ’77) as well as one with a Bordeaux finish (1988).
For an unpeated Lowlands Scotch, 12 years (it was bottled in 2010) may seem like a long time to bear up under the influence of Sherry wood. Do not fear. The effect, while slightly aggressive, is not unduly overpowering. It does, however, pack the requisite sweetness to create a good cigar pairing in the mild- to medium-body range.
Auchentoshan is one of a few remaining Lowland distilleries. The area once had dozens, which slaked the thirst for approachable drams in cosmopolitan Glasgow and Edinburgh before the taste for more challenging whiskies became a vogue. They are known for their tall stills, which create light whiskies.
Auchentoshan 1998 Sherry Cask Matured Limited Edition (54.6 percent alcohol, 109.2 proof, $79.95)
APPEARANCE: Light color with a greenish olive oil character. The thick, sturdy legs of a full-bodied whisky.
NOSE: Sultry with caramel notes followed by wafts of fruit.
PALATE: An attack of sweetness informed by fruit—grapes, pears and apples—on a solid core of cream, caramel and wheat. A slight sea salt note balances it out.
FINISH: Tends to explode into the recesses of the mouth. Lasts with a hint of tangerine and the finish of a fuller-bodied whisky.
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