Monday, December 31, 2012

Review: Auchentoshan Valinch

Auchentoshan Valinch
Price: $50-$70
Strength: 57.5%

Auchentoshan is a lowland distillery with a fun-to-say name and the distinction of being the only (as far as I know) single malt Scotch distillery to triple distill its spirits (two times is the standard).  Its entry-level Classic is (to be polite) mediocre: thin, youthful, and boring, but inexpensive as far as single malts go.  So you'll forgive my skepticism and raised eyebrow at the following claim on Valinch's label: "For years evangelists asked us to create a non chill-filtered, distillery strength edition of our acclaimed Auchentoshan CLASSIC (sic)".

In fact, Valinch is very interesting and different from CLASSIC.  The nose is feisty with pineapple, key lime pie, and tart candy.  It's also a bit boozy and has an unfortunate pine sol cleaner aspect.  In the mouth, dry cereal grains at first, but then the whisky quickly turns grassy and zesty culminating in a sharp, mouth-puckering finish that leaves a citric aftertaste.  Valinch is youthful (surely less than ten years old, probably more like six) and doesn't offer any discernible wood notes, but it also isn't overly malty as is common in young single malts (the third distillation probably helps here).

Really an enjoyable whisky, though one which tasted blind I would not likely identify as Scotch.  I'm not sure how available it is now (my bottles was part of the 2011 limited release) but seek it out if you particularly like tart and sour malts.  85 points (B).

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