While most of Auchentoshan's lineup is not particularly well-regarded, the Three Wood gets far more love in the whisky community. This is likely because almost any malt with a big whollop of sherry will have significant appeal these days. While I wasn't quite so fond of it, I figured I would give this one a try anyway.
This whisky was distilled in September 1998, filled into sherry butt, then bottled in May 2015 at 55.3% without coloring or chill filtration in an outturn of 590 bottles.
G&C Pearls of Scotland Auchentoshan 16 Year 1998/2015 Cask #2197
Nose: fresh, not a ton of sherry, clean malt, a little sour, grilled pineapple, savory, cured meat, creamy herbs, gentle oak. After adding a few drops of water the freshness turns into new make character briefly, then the savory character and oak become stronger.
Taste: rich but not overwhelming sherry, subdued sweetness, savory undertones, mild oak, barrel char, chocolate, and raisins start around the middle and grow slightly towards the back, herbal/grassy notes in the background throughout. After dilution some nice savory character is layered on top up front, with the oak becoming chocolate-y near the back.
Finish: dry sherry, raisins, oak tannins, leather
Unlike the bourbon matured Auchentoshans I've reviewed, this one is mostly about the sherry cask rather than the distillery. While there's nothing particularly wrong with this whisky, there's nothing very gripping either. The savory character is probably the best part, but isn't enough to make this a winner. I appreciate that it's drier than a lot of sherry casks without being overly tannic, but I think this one could have been left for another 5-10 years to develop more fully. It's OK, but that's not enough to make me shell out $100. $70, maybe, but I don't think it's going to go on sale like that.
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