Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Cos Mickey Loves Ya!

Auchentoshan 21 - 43%

Ach, ya big softie!

Merciful heavens, a triple distilled Lowland Whisky? At 43%? If ever the art of dramming could be compared to homeopathy, this is it, right? Right?

Well no, not really. Auchentoshan certainly can produce some sweet and delicate whiskies but anyone who has tried the quite excellent Valinch releases will know that this is not a spirit bereft of character. Yes, they mostly put out whiskies at 40-43% and yes, they chill-filter but you've got to bear in mind what they're aiming for. This isn't an Islay juggernaut, nor an East Highland coastal bruiser. This is Lowland.

Vanilla cream and coconut ice; yep, we're talking sweet. Maple syrup to follow and an intriguing waft of gooseberries as it opens up. Buttery toffee and honey come into play in the later stages.

Water kicks the honey up a gear with almonds and delicate marzipan lending companionship. Vanilla is still a major player but the creaminess fades into coconut milk with hints of fresh mint and bakewell tart.

A mellow quality that puts me in mind of Irish pot stills. Cereal served up with mint chocolate ice-cream. Dark chocolate notes but not bitter and exhibiting a rather flat mouthfeel. Nothing really stands up to be counted; everything is suggested.

Amazingly, this stands up to a little water. Mint has left the building and wood floods the mouth in its place with a little spice. Flashes of sherry with a good amount of pepper and oak.

Surprisingly substantial considering the delicate nature of the palate. Quite drying with wood and white pepper taking centre stage.

I'm taken aback! Water has not made a dent in the finish, instead it rallies. It just goes on and on, entertaining the tongue long after the glass is empty.

I'm both amused and impressed. I fully expected this to die in the glass when exposed to water but, if anything, the addition of water just made it angry. It's Rocky vs Clubber Lang all over again. However, before we get too excited, it was only four drops of water. Also worth taking into consideration is that this whisky retails for between £90 and £120. At that price I'd expect quality in the glass.

Grade: B
Taking into consideration taste, presentation and price, I'd have given this a solid C grade. However, its Lazarus-like resilience and unexpected finish tickled me so much, I have to bump it up a notch. Entertaining.

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