Not all single casks are great, and not all blended mats are mediocre. A saying I just invented, but it’s true. I’ve been tasting quite a few SMWS single casks in recent weeks and this particular one from Auchentoshan is an example that some single casks are not very good sometimes. I am not quite sure why the SMWS picked this cask up. Probably they liked something about it enough to justify the bottling, but what it is eludes me. This one is a 11 year old 2nd fill Hogshead , distilled 03/1999 and bottled at 60.6%.
SMWS 5.29 – ‘Freesias crushed by an escaping car’–Auchentoshan 11 yo , 60.6% ABV
Nose: at over 60% abv this one is quite sharp with alcohol, then it begins with some Vegetal notes as well as flower petals and coconut. On 2nd sniff we get some vanilla and citrus on the edge. A bit of white chocolate is also evident after a few minutes of rest in the glass. a pleasant nose, but a bit weird.
Palate: The palate was too harsh and alcoholic without some aqua for me (which is not very common, I like my drams at CS) : With water it gets bitter sweet with cocoa burnt sugar and warm wood. Ginger powder and cloves. With some vanilla and coconut from the nose. Not ultra complex, and lacking something. Can’t really put my finger, but it doesn’t mix well. The sun is less than the sun of its parts here…
Finish: OK medium length, with quite the same flavors from the palate. that’s it.
All in all, it’s a very mediocre Toshan. Mark Dermul ( who educated me via samples share we did long ago, which was highly educational) would not like what I’m about to write, but this is one of the less interesting Toshans I had recently (if we take out the NAS, and the 12 which are just ok). I would expect a SMWS cask to offer something one can’t find in OBs and a hand picked cask should be more interesting than this. Well, you can’t win them all as they say.Some drams are great and some are, ok.
I can not really recommend this SMWS, you should look elsewhere if you are looking for an interesting lowlander.