Review: Auchentoshan Virgin Oak

AuchentoshanVOThis brand new, limited edition expression is Auchentoshan’s first ever single malt to be solely matured in virgin North American oak casks. Please see below for my review notes, but first, here’s some PR blurb…

This complex, non-chill filtered dram is Auchentoshan’s first ever single malt to be matured solely in virgin North American oak casks, wood that is previously untouched by any spirit.

Intuition and industry knowledge led the team at Auchentoshan to believe they could challenge the firmly entrenched belief that Scotch whisky must be matured in ex-bourbon or sherry casks. Since the millennium, Auchentoshan has placed small batches of the unique, triple distilled spirit in virgin North American oak whose charred surfaces have held neither bourbon nor sherry.

Auchentoshan Brand Ambassador Gordon Dundas said: “Auchentoshan is one of the few distilleries to produce a virgin oak Single Malt. The lightness of the triple distilled spirit makes it perfectly suited to absorbing the unique qualities of the charred virgin oak casks. The result is a lowland whisky that is subtle as well as complex in nature.”

On to my review notes…

Auchentoshan Virgin Oak – 46% – NAS

Colour: Full gold, touch of amber.

Nose: Sweet, lightly malty, none of the farmy notes that I dislike in the Valinch. Freshly cut sawdust notes.

Palate: Lightly spiced up front with a good oily mouthfeel. The fresh sawdust notes come through from the nose into the palate and are quite interesting and enjoyable, a refreshing change from old dunnagey style oak notes you often get (and that I also rather enjoy). This is presented at a proper strength, but is surprisingly smooth.

Finish: Malty, sweet and very warming on your chest, not overly long.

Thoughts: I prefer this to the Valinch that’s for sure, a much more palatable dram in my mind, it’s nothing extremely special, but it is that bit different, more affordable than some, and really worth checking out… It’s quite summery and quaffable! For me, one of my favourite Auchentoshan’s so far. 86.

Thanks to Auchentoshan for the sample.
Available from The Whisky Shop for £69.99 (with 10% discount for W Club members)


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