Auchentoshan Silver Oak, 21 year old, 51.5%, Travel Retail ‘only’

Yeah. Auchentoshan. The darling distillery of Toshan Man Mark Dermul. He’s also the guy I bought this sample of. I’ve had some good ones, but there are also some lesser ones and when this one came out a couple of years ago I thought it was a good idea to try and understand why Mark is such a huge fan.

He has admitted it’s not the best whisky in the world but he still clings to his fascination for it and, obviously, there are some awesome ones out there. He even manages to do an annual birthday tasting of just Auchentoshans for an entire evening. That seems like a tough one to keep interesting to me.

Anyway, this Silver Oak release from 2012 was done for Travel Retail and consists of American bourbon casks and some Oloroso sherry casks.

The triple distillation should give us a rather clean and fruity dram, if my memory serves.

It’s crisp right away with lemon and grassy scents. There’s some daisy, flowers (more general) and straw. Quite meadow like. A hint of oak and some minerals too.

The palate shows some more oak and has a hint of white pepper that comes with the alcohol. I get hints of iron and apple, with flowers. It’s rather dry and sharp and doesn’t show a lot of age or wood influence. As in, there’s the flavor of wood, but it doesn’t taste ‘old’. Grass and straw, with some curry spices (turmeric and such).

The finish has more minerals even. More iron, apple treacle with the tin. Oak, slate. Weird.

I am not a fan. Far from it even. I don’t mind any of the flavors and none of those in particular would turn me off of a whisky, but in this case they just don’t work for me. I think the mineral and iron like flavors are not backed up by anything substantial and it just steers the dram in the wrong direction.

Also, the increased alcohol didn’t do anything for the dram apart from making it somewhat less drinkable. So, not being a fan is an understatement. I really don’t like this one. A bummer, since I generally appreciate a delicate Lowlands whisky, but I think in this case they wanted to make this one pretend to be something it’s not.

Note: The 21 year old bit I only found out after writing this review. Somehow I didn’t pick up on that. I think it doesn’t show in the whisky at all.

It’s not cheap either, clocking in just over € 100. Quite a lot actually, but it’s not a young whisky, even though you don’t really taste the age. There are some semi-new Auchentoshans out there, though. I did really love the NAS Auchentoshan’s Solera thingy. It being 21 years old does explain it a bit though.

If you want a cask strength Auchentoshan, I’d suggest you look elsewhere. Bummer.

Auchentoshan Silver Oak, 51.5%, Travel Retail ‘only’. Available at € 110 at Whiskybase.

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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