Auchentoshan 10 Yr: 40% abv
Background: Auchentoshan has been discussed before in a review of their Triple Wood, so there should be some background to this distillery. But in case you need a refresher, this is a lowland distillery that uses triple distillation, a technique found more commonly in Irish Whiskey production. This particular whisky is nothing special. The 10 year bottling is a standard bottling that we bought as our first lowland whisky purchase. In Michigan, you can grab it for about $30 a bottle if you can find it. The question is, should you?
Nose: The nose starts off with an interesting aroma of mild malted barley, usurped in power by slightly vegetal notes and moderate spiciness. This spiciness can be related to an almost burnt peppercorn smell, the kind you might find on a peppered steak that’s been cooked too hot. Fortunately, this doesn’t over-play the soft fruit notes of pear and some grape. Oddly, though, there is some burnt wood smell that just doesn’t seem to relent when nosing the Scotch. One could also cite the experience of slight dill pickle smell emerging through the layers, although not in a horribly prominent fashion.
Arrival: The arrival is sweet, in a good way. There is some candied lemon, citrus-like flavor that comes about with some honey and sugary malt right in the beginning. In reality, this isn’t a complex arrival, with a slight lime and tart apple presence, but not much else there.
Body: This whisky starts to dull with the taste of over-used casks, burnt wood, and even some burnt tobacco notes right in the body. The body does not last long, and with a harsh, bone-dry grain flavor that seems uneventful and disappointing at best, it is best just to move on.
Finish: There is some stewed apple in the finish here, with slight malt and citrus notes as well. Unfortunately, this is overshadowed by the same burnt characteristics that the body contains. This is just a very disappointing finish.
Nose: The nose, after adding a teaspoon of water, still comes off as dusty, with strained notes of malt and slight hints of fruits, although the vegetal quality has left. It is not by any means an enjoyable or complex experience.
Arrival: With small pieces of vanilla and strawberry coming through, the arrival has brought about some new unique notes, but is unfortunately still not complex enough.
Body: The body doesn’t change much, although water does seem to help remove some of the less favorable tasting notes.
Finish: The finish remains pretty well the same with the addition of water.
Final Comments: This Scotch was the first $30 single malt we’ve experimented with, and we were honestly not impressed. The flavors weren’t there, and the ones that were felt strained and unpleasant. This isn’t a knock on Auchentoshan, either. They make some fantastic bottlings, but this was not one of them.
Why you’d buy it: You want a single malt on a budget.
Why you wouldn’t: You’ve tasted it before.