Saturday, March 13, 2010
Review: Auchentoshan 12 year old - Single Malt Scotch Review
I bought a bottle even though a friend of mine, James, had mentioned that the Auchentoshan 10 year old was one of the worst single malts he has ever had the misfortune of tasting.
I paid $54 for a bottle. Very reasonable in my part of the world for a 12 year old single malt.
A little smoke, very malty, faint pine needles.
Ridiculously smooth. Definitely malty. Cloves, sweet cinnamon sticks and the slightest taste of spices.
Oak. Very subdued zing of ground pepper and quite grainy. How a single malt can be grainy on the finish is beyond me. Especially odd when you consider grain alcohol does not make up a single malt.
I did. The results were not an improvement. It became slighlty bitter.
Not impressed. I feel like I wasted some money on this scotch. I expected something more. It did not live up to my recollection of the scotch tasting. When I buy a single malt, I expect flavors that are superior to blended scotch in the same price range. Not true in this case. I'd take Chivas Regal 12 year old over this any day of the week.
It is not a horrible whisky, just sweet, malty, flat and boring. There is nothing to this one. It is an ingredient single malt in Ballantines Finest, and quite frankly, I would also drink the latter over this.
When I compare this 12 year old single malt to other 12 year old single malts, the disappointment deepens. Highland Park 12, Cragganmore and others are light years ahead of Auchentoshan 12.
Who should buy this?
If you have never tried a single malt scotch, I could understand trying this as a novice scotch fan and enjoying it. Why? Because of the smooth texture, the complete lack of any offensive flavors, virtually no peat flavor (novices rarely enjoy big peat flavors) and just a little spice and smoke on the finish to let you know that you are drinking scotch and not cherry Coke.
Auchentoshan scotch regardless of the particular bottling, is triple-distilled like many Irish whiskies. The result is a very smooth scotch. If you prefer Irish whisky over scotch, this may be one you will enjoy. It shares many common characteristics with Irish whisky like Bushmills.
Auchentoshan 12 year old (which replaced the old 10 year old bottling) is not terrible. It has no 'bite' or 'roughness' but no memorable flavors. Again, this is one for someone new to scotch or for the ladies. Guys, if you are caught sipping this, I and others are gonna wonder where your purse is.
For me, I detected little complexity of flavor whatsoever. For unabashed scotch fans, who like some intrigue and challenge, skip this Plain Jane and continue your search for a Jayne Mansfield.
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