Auchentoshan 11 Years Old (1999) Bordeaux Cask Matured (Official Bottling)

58% ABV around £40 for 70cl

Score 86/100

What they say:

The triple distilled, award winning, extra smooth, single malt renowned for its soft, delicate flavour. A fruity Lowland malt, produced in Scotland since 1823, under the watchful eye of the distillery manager. Product of Scotland – people here say ‘ock-un-tosh-un’, but what’s a little pronunciation between friends? No other Scottish distillery insists on triple distilling every single drop – this gives our Lowland Single Malt Whisky a complex, gentle flavour. We’ve crafted Auchentoshan on the banks of the River Clyde since 1823, in the shadow of the Old Kilpatrick hills between Glasgow and Loch Lomond.

Distilled in 1999 Bordeaux Cask Matured, Ltd Edition 11 Years Old

The open grain of French oak helps develop a full oaky character in this cask strength, non chill filtered release – the result is pleasantly sharp, countering the sweet Auchentoshan style. Autumn sunset to the eye, the aroma is citric sharp balanced by lingering creamy sweetness. On the tongue there’s vanilla with layered fruit and wood spices – then a long lingering finish.

Auchentoshan_Bordeaux

What I say:

This is simply a beautiful combination of whisky and red wine. The Bordeaux region of France is the largest wine making region in the country. Centered around the town of Bordeaux, the red Bordeaux wine [claret] is produced from a variety of grapes including Merlot (62% by area), Cabernet Sauvignon (25%), Cabernet Franc (12%) and a small amount of Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carménère (1% in total) picked, crushed and fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel vats. The must is then re-pressed and interred into 225 litre oak barriques for ageing, typically for around 12 months. Although many of the finer producing vineyards and sub-regions dominate production with Merlot grapes, aged wine is often blended before bottling and further ageing. Bordeaux wines in general tend to be fruity with little oak character and are intended to be drunk when they are young, before tannins develop. Certain sub-regions such as Saint-Emilion or Pomerol are renowned for producing fruitier wines with softer tannins whereas Graves and Medoc regions produce concentrated fruit and tannic wines that are intended to be cellar-aged before drinking. One of the best examples of claret comes from the Château Mouton Rothschild in the Paulliac region. This Auchentoshan is aged for 11 years in St Julian wine casks from top claret producer Chateau Lagrange. The cask maturation of Auchentoshan in Bordeaux Barriques results in a simply stunning whisky packed with juicy, syrupy fruit flavours.

Colour:

Autumn red gold

Nose:

Sweet, fruity and yeasty, hints of teabread and dates

Taste:

This has a syrupy fruit jam flavour encompassing apple, orange, peach and figs. There is a spicy cayenne pepper kick at the beginning which warms and mellows into a dry oaky element, this is thick and rich feeling in the mouth.

Finish:

Long, warming and mellow with sweet fruit flavours boiling all the way up from the fuzzy warmness it creates

Would I but it again:

As long as Auchentoshan keep producing this then I will keep buying it. This is a fantastic example of how wine-finishing of a whisky can raise it to a whole other level. This boils around the mouth imparting deep earthy tannic red wine flavours while subtly trailing sweet vanilla and grassy Lowland Malt remnants. This whisky is a perfect match for grilled red meats including steak or game such as venison. Robust enough to stand on its own against seriously strong flavours. In fact I would suggest this whisky could easily replace claret where claret would be used in food pairings.