Auchentoshan 12 year old
I just opened my first bottle of Auchentoshan 12 year old, and I thought I'd post my impressions for those that are interested. Note that Auchentoshann is a triple-distilled Lowland malt whisky, making it something of an anomaly in Scotch these days.
Nosed directly from the bottle, I get light malt aromas, a hint of green apple, and even some tingling mint. It's fresh and a bit sharp.
I have found that adding a splash of water and letting the glass sit opens it up nicely. This is quite a subtle whisky so you don't want to rush your judgement. At first there is a mellow peach aroma, and a slight grassiness. Gradually something more cloying (mothballs?) develops, as well as a touch of soapy sweetness. Not at all unpleasant, if not entirely remarkable.
It follows through fairly mellow on the palate but does deliver some bite. The development is crisp and bittersweet, with more vegetal/grassy flavours mid-palate. Also a hard rye-like flavour. The only Scotch I've had that is remotely similar is anCnoc 12.
The vegetal bitterness persists through the medium finish. There is also a hint of smoke lurking in there somewhere; this seems to be a variable aspect of this malt, some bottles being markedly smokier than others from what I've read. In fact the smokiness does seem to linger here, but without pronounced peat flavours. Interesting.
Overall it is an intruiging whisky that would probably do very well on the rocks in the summer, or even in a cocktail. It is more complex than first appearances, but more closely resembles an Irish whiskey than a Scotch. Compared to Glenkinchie 12...well, it doesn't really compare. In my mind Glenkinchie is worth the extra money, being a richer, more full-bodied malt with lovely, lively orange-cream and floral aromas and flavours and a well-balanced finish. It asserts itself right away whereas Auchentoshan is a little harder to figure out. Still, it is a great value and a worthy purchase.