Before the revamp of Auchentoshan years ago, they also had their series of special bottlings. In gorgeous off-white boxes with some proper age statements on them. There was a 16 year old Fresh Bourbon cask, an 18 year old Oloroso matured one and this one. A 17 year old finished in Bordeaux Wine casks.
Back in the day I bought all three of them and have thoroughly enjoyed the bourbon and Olorose ones. This one didn’t really catch my attention while it was sitting on my shelf for years (the better part of a decade, actually).
I had glasses of it over the years, and sold some samples. Now, it is finally nearing its end and after having some after barbecue drams of it a week or two ago I decided to finally sit down for it. Interesting find, when I finally did this, is that actually is quite a gorgeous whisky.
It’s quite soft on the barley front, but the sweetness and richness of the wine cask make up for this. The wine doesn’t feel like a second layer on top of the whisky, but is very well integrated. Lots of stewed red fruits like strawberries and plums. Obviously the wood influence is quite strong.
The palate is quite strong, but not as strong as some 51% whiskies warrant. Still very sweet, but not cloying. Quiet dry too. The combination tastes a bit like raisin bread, but with stewed red fruits again. Old, wet oak.
The finish is fruity with more focus on the oak. It tastes like those old wine casks in a dunnage warehouse with earthen floors. Long and rich.
Apparently I was in the mood for some sweetness yesterday, since I generally am not too fond of very sweet whiskies. This one is quite sweet but not overly so. The fruitiness of the wine is very well integrated with the gentle barley notes of the whisky. The oak is very nice on this one too. All in all, it works.
I find the rating of 85 and a bit at Whiskybase on the low side, and I expect the last 6 or so centiliters in my bottle will not survive the weekend. Good stuff! Not surprising that Auchentoshan has kept working with Bordeaux casks over the years.
According to the label this was matured in bourbon casks for eight years and finished in Saint Julien casks for nine years. Now that’s a finish!
Auchentoshan 17, btld 2002, Bordeaux Cask Finish, 51%. Available in Belgium for 109 euros.