Auchentoshan is one of the few remaining distilleries in the Lowlands, producing triple-distilled whisky as was once traditional there. (It is not clear if the other two operational Lowland distilleries whose malts are on the market, Glenkinchie and Bladnoch, have any triple-distilled whisky out there.) I have very little experience of Auchentoshan–I’ve tried the Classic (which does not sport an age statement) and the 12 on separate occasions a good while ago and neither impressed me overmuch. The Valinch is, I believe, the cask strength version of the Classic and, in the US at least, has seen two releases: in 2011 and 2012. The sample I am reviewing tonight is from the 2011 release.
Auchentoshan Valinch, 2011 (57.5%; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Gingery wood a la the Glen Garioch Founders’ Reserve is to the fore; a little more floral and more vanilla sweetness too (than in/the GGFR) which gets a little stronger with time. A hint of acid under the woody notes and with time it gets a little citrussy (lime) but also more malty. Not a whole lot of change with water.
Palate: As on the nose; gingery wood but quite sweet. Also quite hot. Not much fruit at first or at second sip but the wood does get a little more perfumed than gingery and with time there’s a bubble-gummy sweetness. Let’s see if water opens this up. Yes, better with water: more lime and with the spirity bite reduced there’s now a nice, mellow maltiness.
Finish: Long. Tingling wood and an almost cloying sweetness. Not much change with water.
Comments: Tastes very young and has too much vanilla and gingery bite for my liking. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it but it’s just not very much to my taste, especially neat.
Rating: 81 points.
Thanks to Bryan F. for the sample!