There are those who say Auchentoshan is a soft, floral dram and perfect for those with a delicate palate. I cant exactly argue with that notion but i will say that when you get to try some of their single casks you begin to understand that this distillery can compete on so many levels.
The single cask range often throws up some very strong, dominant cask maturations with big bold aromas, bold flavours from casks that over power that more delicate triple distilled spirit that really flourishes from re fill bourbon casks..
Todays review however is one that i am told will test my Toshan powers to the limit, its a so called left field and has come from that very well known single cask club the SMWS..
Scaramango or 5.72 as the smws like to refer this as is a 29 year old whisky matured in a re fill Hogshead and should therefore show some of those typical traits we all associate with the lowland distillery..
The panel who chose this cask had this to say..
We discovered a totally fascinating nose – much ‘out of sync’ with what you would ordinarily expect from this distillery. Immediate notes of curry leaf, pastis, brown toast, mint tea, eucalyptus oils, menthol tobacco and petrichor. Extremely earthy and full of deep, tertiary complexities, with further notes of roasted Brazil nuts and medical vapour rubs. You’d never guess it was triple distilled! Reduction brought toasty cereals, butterscotch, softly medical demerara rum and the aroma of very old Irish pure pot still whiskey. Sooty, vegetal and full of metal polish. The palate sang with tea tree oils, canvas, agave syrup, tiger balm, lemon drops and lanolin. Extremely vaporous, aromatic and medical. Reduction offers cloves, green malt, metal coins, rum cocktails, spicy malt extracts and dried herb encrusted cured meats. Fascinating and brilliant stuff!
I am already wondering what this is going to be like and to why this is so left field from the Toshan norm.
Scaramango – 5.72.
Age.. 29 years
Cask.. Re-Fill Bourbon Hogshead
Outturn.. 232 bottles
As with all the releases from the Smws this is NCF and naturally coloured and is from a single cask
Nose.. There is that typical grassy note rising along with some fresh apple peel, poached pear, a touch of vanilla and day old coffee. There is a very soft nuttiness lurking in the background along with some oak tannins, musty old damp casks, and a little honey.
Palate.. Interestingly this has a rather oily texture that brings with it plenty of tannin bitterness, a heap full of manuka honey, coffee bean and musty almonds.. There are some hints at the Toshan dna but they are certainly subtle.
Finish.. Tannins and spices
Thoughts.. This is not so far from a toshan of this age to be honest but i will add that had i not know where it originated i could easily be saying something very different here.. I have had several old toshans from Bourbon casks and when you get an active one the results can be far from what you expect.. I had been warned i might not like this because it was so untypical Auchentoshan but in reality its uniqueness is its strength and by that i think you can guess i do like this one..
The price is up there at £270 but i will argue this is actually pretty good value when you consider the age, its maturation within a bourbon cask and it is a single cask at full strength and therefore limited to the 232 bottles world wide..
It is interesting that as this sits for some more time the palate changes often, with astringent notes popping up alongside those notes above, and interacting on a regular basis, the nose rarely changes though and does become more toshan like as time goes on but i might just be convincing myself of that one..
With thanks to Steve for a very generous sample..