The smell of decadence

Auchentoshan Springwood Auchentoshan Heartwood

Have you ever wondered what decadence smells like? Or comfort? Or clarity of thought? Or power?

Of course you haven’t. A notion that abstract human concepts can have a taste, smell, shape, colour or texture is either insane or extremely arty. And yet I find that two Auchentoshans I’m mulling over tonight are taking me to that strange place in my head on a one-way train of thought. A bit like when you’re enjoying a Transformers trailer on YouTube, then follow links to more and more videos and half an hour later you find yourself watching a cat playing ukulele and wondering whether your life is worth living. The point is, I don’t really want to think about what these Auchies smell of, tonight I’d rather know what they smell like.

Anyway. *Sigh*. I’ve decided to do something different. In front of me I have the Auchentoshan Springwood and the Auchentoshan Heartwood – recently released and exclusive to travel retail – and I’m going to try and describe both by comparing them to things which don’t have any particular taste or smell. So just when you thought I was going to give you a piece of valid consumer advice on two interesting, affordable and accessible whiskies, I am going all high school poetry on you. Thank you, come again.

Auchentoshan Springwood

Bourbon cask
40% ABV

A table on the patio. Silence, good humour, a slow walk. Rubbing your eyes in the morning. Blue jumper, a bit too tight but you keep it for years ‘just in case’. Five hundred books in alphabetical order. Packing your suitcase before a holiday. Bringing a telly to the garden to watch a game while barbecuing. If it was a song it would be Scott McKenzie’s ‘San Francisco’. If it was a colour it would be #aaaafb. If it was a place it would be somewhere in the West of France.

It is very soft and understated. This dram would be great in the morning. Pick up a bottle if you want the gentlest of aperitifs which won’t ruin your carefully composed dinner.

Auchentoshan Heartwood

Bourbon and Oloroso sherry cask
43% ABV

Bumping into a good friend in a café abroad, staying out together until 3am. A bottle of champagne in an ice bucket. Modern wooden architecture. Cufflinks. Test driving a convertible Porche. If it was a piece of music it would be the last act of Verdi’s ‘Aida’. If it was a colour it would be #e14646. If it was a plant it would be magnolia. If it was a source of income it would be inheritance.

This is bigger and sweeter but still true to its triple distilled form. A polite dram with that luxurious little kick. Pick up a bottle for your boss.


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Judging honours

World Whiskies Awards Judge Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards Judge Global Scotch Masters Judge Scottish Whisky Awards Judge