To my mind, this is the nicest nose I’ve ever experienced from an Auchentoshan. It’s redolent with figs, paradiddles, rain-fattened raisins, wet fallen oak leaves, and blondies with caramel icing. There’s a wonderful woody note as well: it’s neither pine nor redwood, neither fir nor birch. [Bill: I’m indeciduous as to what kind of forest I’m in.] [John: Booooooo.] Once we dug into the nose a bit, we thought for a moment we got skunk leather. Then Bill thought it might be skunk spats, but the word association got us to the right note: Skunk Spanx™. They’re for that overly amorous member of the Mephitidae family who wants to make over his figure immediately–you know, so he can court any black and white animal in sight.
[John: “Overly amorous”? How about “serial harassing”? #NoMeansNo #PepeLePewCartoonsHaveNotAgedWell #MeToo ]
The mouth is oily and syrupy, and woody in much the way a Stradivarius is. It goes beyond syrupy, though, to full-on jammy, but not in the Dave Matthews sort of way. These jams are kept in a teak tea box and include Himalayan boysenberry, Malabar pepper chutney, and an Iron Tree flower butter that’s truly to die for. But then come the tannins! It’s so tannic, it’s satanic–but still very sweet. It lacks balance, but in a way we really enjoyed–like watching the development of my daughter’s childhood obsessions.
The finish is a bit bitter at first, with celeriac root and big, round tannins. It’s the damnedest dram: it’s tannic but not particularly drying; it’s woody but also ebulliently fruity. This, dear readers, is a fantastic winter dram.
On the scale of epic jams–
The Auchentoshan 21 Year 1997 bottled by Signatory Vintage exclusively for The Whisky Barrel is Traffic’s “The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys” – Live in Santa Monica, 1972–Probably doesn’t come to mind immediately, and may not be your jam, but it’s a low-slung, unassuming, bluesy, soulful one that builds and modulates like few others. And Steve Winwood, man! Well, and the glasses on the drummer. Top-notch stuff.
–Our thanks to The Whisky Barrel for the sample!