Tasting: Auchentoshan 1997 18 yo by Blackadder Raw Cask

Auchentoshan 1997 18 yo by Blackadder Raw CaskDram data:
Distillery: Auchentoshan
Bottler: Blackadder
Distilled: 22.10.1997
Bottled: 29.10.2015
Age: 18 years
Limitation: 247 bottles
Casks: “single oak hogshead” 2909
Alcohol: 52,3%
uncoloured / unchillfiltered
Whiskybase link

Ah yes – another one of these Raw Cask bottles where it’s best to have a fine-mesh strainer at hand, otherwise you’ll end up with a crunchy layer of charcoal in the glass. Also my second ever Auchentoshan review, a distillery I often struggle with when trying official bottlings. Let’s see how this indie bottling fares!

Tasting notes:
 oxidised copper
The nose has a prominent, yet light and very clean alcoholic top note that’s immediately noticeable. Beneath the layer of alcohol, there’s a whiff of citrus peel, with candyfloss, vanilla, dried coconut flakes, raw banana, burnt sugar and shortbread. Just a pinch of oriental spices is to be detected. Oh, and some wormwood. The oak may have imparted a lot of colour, but it has not taken over completely, enhancing the triple-distilled spirit just enough to add supporting flavour compounds and taking away the rough edges. Nosing an Auchentoshan that’s not been killed with too much cask influence is a delight – owing to the rather lovely and delicate new make, which I got to taste back in 2014. On to the palate! 

The arrival packs quite a punch – the triple-distilled spirit does have a word or two to speak, with alcohol, citrus and pepper. Once the initial hit has settled down, a rich, viscous, oily, even slightly sweet (vanilla, burnt sugar and shortbread) sensation fills the mouth. It does come complete with some slight oriental spices – and a touch of wormwood. The taste is actually quite a bit richer and darker in flavour than the nose suggested – which is a welcome surprise. There’s even a wood smoke flavour – thanks to the extremely charred cask, I presume (or maybe it’s the charcoal floaties I’ve got in my mouth?). The medium long finish is rich upon swallowing, very oily with all of the palate’s properties – a mixture of burnt vanilla sweet notes, spices and a touch of wormwood.

Verdict: I like this dram’s profile – letting the light and clean distillate shine and adding enough wood character to keep it interesting, but not smothering it. This example starts out light on the nose, but comes alive on the palate. Very enjoyable!

Check out my index of all Auchentoshan whiskies I’ve tried so far

Score: 87/100

(Nose: 87 Palate: 87 Finish: 86)

Dregs bottle courtesy of Keith’s dregs

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