Auchentoshan “Heartwood”

I know I’d said I’d have a review today of barbecue from Ted Cook’s 19th Hole in Minneapolis but what can I say? I spent last evening watching Basu Chatterjee’s 1974 gem Rajnigandha and a few episodes of Schitt’s Creek and didn’t get around to it. If your primary interest is food, go back and read yesterday’s post on American food media’s relationship with diversity. Or if you want to read about barbecue in the Twin Cities, go back and read my review of Big Daddy’s from a few years ago (but keep in mind that they’ve changed ownership since then). Today I have another whisky review. This is an Auchentoshan, shockingly only the second official Auchentoshan I’ve ever reviewed (the first was the cask strength Valinch). Well, maybe it’s not so shocking: there aren’t that many official Auchentoshans around. I believe this one was released only for the Travel Retail market—I’m not sure if it’s still on the go there. It’s a NAS vatting of spirit matured in ex-bourbon and ex-oloroso casks. Let’s see what it’s like.

Auchentoshan “Heartwood” (43%; bourbon & oloroso sherry casks; from a sample from a friend)

Nose: A big hit of sweet rosewood with some rye and aniseed interlaced with the wood. More perfumed and floral with every sniff and the wood begins to get more dusty. There’s some cherry mixed in there too and with time a bit of orange peel pops out as well. With a few drops of water there’s a fair bit of vanilla mixed in with the rest.

Palate: Hmmm not much happening here, however. It’s not very woody (which is fine by me) but it’s not very characterful either—the flavours and the texture are both a bit thin. As it sits the wood gets more pronounced and more raw. With water the wood is spicier and less raw.

Finish: Medium-long. Less sweet and more spicy here.

Comments: An interesting nose but barely anything happening on the palate. No big flaws but like most Auchentoshan I’ve had it’s squarely in blend replacement territory.

Rating: 80 points.

Thanks to George, who has probably forgotten he ever owned a bottle of this whisky leave alone that he gave me a sample from it.

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