Auchentoshan 1999 Bordeux Cask Matured

Whether you think that Bastille Day (14th July) is a good enough occasion to release a limited expression of whisky or not (personally I think any occasion is good…) you should keep an eye out for this one. Why? Not very often do you get to try a whisky matured for 12 years exclusively in wine casks, in this case Bordeaux. I know some of you are not big fans of ‘gimmicky’ finishes and exotic casks but it has been proven over and over again in the recent years that there is more to a wine cask than a fancy name and a bigger price tag. This Auchie is a good example.

Now, before type up any tasting notes, I just want to say that I am not going to pass verdict on whether the spirit has been raped by the cask or not. It really doesn’t make much sense in this case. I know I fiercely advocate moderate oak influence and clear house style in whisky but on this occasion I am happy to look past that and focus primarily on what open-grained French oak brought to the table here.

Nose: Plum and red grape, mascherano cherry and blood orange with a big splash of lemon juice. It’s a tad violent at 58% so watering down quickly. And there it opens up with vodka-soaked cherries, cinnamon and big lemon tart. Not the broadest nose you will encounter but the depth of aromas is staggering, you could train aroma perception on this one. More water and suddenly I’m 8 again and I’ve just climbed a tree, if you pardon a random recollection.

Palate: Very pleasant sweet burst at first is followed by fiercely bitter and spicy dark fruitiness. Begs for more water but I am being very canny for now. Some vanilla cheesecake and blueberries.

Finish: Bitter-sweet, spicy, longish.

Overall: At £47 Auchentoshan 1999 Bordeaux is a whisky you wouldn’t regret buying. In my opinion it’s better than Three Wood, the depth of the core aroma theme is excellent and you could use it as a ‘tuner’ in any tasting line-up. The oak influence is very interesting. An excellent present for your mate who doesn’t ‘believe in maturation gimmicks’. Big thumbs up for cask strength and no chill-filtration.

Lucas