80s flashback – Auchentoshan ‘Pure Malt’ 40%

Let me confess upfront… I’ve not been massively impressed with most mass market Auchentoshan...

Yes I get that as they are triple distilled, my palate should calibrate to something light, refreshing and more nuanced. Yes I also get that not all Auchentoshan’s are created equal. I remember being delighted with some special Auchentoshan’s sampled at the now defunct “Vault” in Singapore… followed by being universally uninspired ever since… until now!

We sampled this beauty blind at an evening which featured a trio of rare whiskies from the 1980s… providing a unique ‘flashback’ to single malts before the current craze that has whiskies flying off shelves around the world with the award winning pronouncements of one man!

Courtesy Krishna Nakula

Knowing absolutely nothing about the whisky before the unveiling, we discovered:

  • Nose – It kept evolving starting with apricot, dried peach, bannanas, lots of tropical fruits, fresh, bright, then some creamy vanilla, a little fresh curry pata (green curry leaves), fresh grass which morphed into dry hay, a dab of almond oil, ladies perfume, green bananas, light ash and finally a faint curd sourness creeping in…
  • Palate – Light, dry, bitter like watered down juice of kerela (bitter guord), the shadow of smoke without any direct peat, sense of being a “breakfast dram”
  • Finish – Some debate… some hardly found any finish, another described it as ‘present’ yet  ‘nondescript’… in short the finish was the only disappointing element of the whisky
  • Water – Absolutely does not need a drop

Leading up to the unveiling there was talk of it being an ‘old style’ whisky… clearly before the 1990s.

Sure enough – more than one sampler was surprised with it being an Auchentoshan. Krishna shared that the era of Eadie Cairns who rebuilt the Auchentoshan distillery completely after purchasing it in 1969.

This remarkable rare malt came courtesy of India’s Malt Maniac Krishna Nakula at an evening organised by The Secret Supper Project and The Vault Fine Spirits in celebration of 20 years of Malt Madness.

The night before, we were ‘wowed’ with a quartet of 1970s Glendronach grand dames from 39 – 42 years.

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