I was lucky enough to score one of the last bottles of this gem at a clearance price when they discontinued it in Ontario. In the case of the Auchentoshan 18, the drop in price was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that I would probably have never forked over the extra $20 they originally wanted for it, and it was so very worth what I did pay. However, it was a curse in the sense that this bottle must last me until I can find another affordable source for this precious whisky.
Nose: Barley, spices, tobacco, citrus. Upon first tasting, I was instantly struck by a vivid visual of the wheat fields of Saskatchewan. It has been years since I’ve seen them, so this whisky is a definite memory-jogger. After sitting for 10 minutes, with a few drops of water, the palate morphs into vanilla, toffee, and other sweetie shop scents.
Palate: Confirms the nose. Thick, syrupy, grassy, with hints of tobacco and fresh citrus. After 10 minutes and water, the candy shop opens up. The sweetness and barley marry into what I can only describe as a chocolate-covered granola bar.
Finish: Long, smooth, dry Tobacco and cereals. Vanilla and hints of bitter dark chocolate on the tail end of the finish.
As I had mentioned in the review of the PC An Turas Mor, my A- grade often requires some sort of metamorphosis, or some increasing depth with the addition of sitting time, and/or water. It should provide me 2 experiences in a glass. The Auchentoshan 18 does that, and fabulously, even though I was skeptical at first with it being such a low ABV. It is, too, a chill-filtered whisky, and I’m not certain, but I’d guess that it also has caramel added to give it that beautiful, almost orange colour. Unlike other malt-maniacs, I won’t dock this whisky grades for its chill-filtration or caramel, because it is so spectacular in its own right. I can only wistfully imagine what a cask-strength-non-chillfiltered-no-e150 Auchentoshan 18 might taste like.
All in all, this is one bottle I will be playing close to the chest around company. Consider it a badge of honour if I share.
Retaste: Just over 8 months later, (and 8 months wiser) a retaste of this whisky has led me to downgrade it to a B+. While the notes are much of the same, it’s just not as smooth, and doesn’t hold up to some of the better whiskies I’ve had over the last few quarters. That said, it’s still, perhaps, the most unique whisky I’ve tried to date, with the most savoury profile I’ve come across. The Mortlach 20yo CS may take that to task, though, from what I’ve been told.