Whisky Review #45 – Auchentoshan Three Wood

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Intro – My first journey into the Lowland region of Scotland we have the Auchentoshan Three Wood. Lowland whiskies are known for being lighter whiskies with close ties to Irish whisky as far as smell & taste go. Auchentoshan is also triple distilled which is another reason for its light flavors. I have to say when I read that a whisky has a light character I usually don’t go for it.  The Three Wood seemed like a good one to try as it is triple matured (hence the Three Wood) in Bourbon, Oloroso Sherry and PX Sherry casks. So I figured even if the flavor off the stills is light the casks should hopefully impart some nice strong sherry flavors. Bottled at 43%, chill filtered and colored. No age on this one so who really knows. Reviewed neat.

Nose – wet grass, sour sherry, spicy, salty sneaker rubber, cinnamon, odd grassy note which must be the Auchentoshan character, slight cherry and sherry note. The red fruit/sherry notes are killed by the grassy, spicy, young spirit. More time in the cask would probably have helped. I am sure this was a quick maturation. Complex nose…strange but in a good way. Time the glass helps.

Taste – sweet arrival, thick sugary mouthfeel, light sherry…odd sherry, turning spicy and hot – sweetness doesn’t stick around. flavor falls away quickly.

Finish – chocolate, cinnamon, baking spices, auchentoshan (grassy, hot spirit) character then nothing…can barely be called a short finish – not off putting but very short and lacking.

Favorite Part – The Nose.

Conclusion – Meh. This is a strange one. Usually I enjoy strange/odd/characterful whisky but just when you think it’s going to wow you the flavor disappears. Great nose but on the taste and finish you can tell it’s young. I think they left in the casks just long enough to not make it horrible. That said if they put some quality casks for longer and bottled it at a higher ABV  I think it would be much better. I probably won’t try another Auchentoshan because I think without the extra cask maturation the base spirit would gross me out. I can’t really recommend this one.

Rating – 63/100

  • Presentation – 2/5
  • Nose – 20/25
  • Taste – 23/35
  • Finish – 15/25
  • Value – 3/10
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Whisky Review #44 – Highland Park Dark Origins

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Intro – It has been almost 5 months since my last whisky review. Life has been busy and lately I have been more interested in just enjoying whisky then reviewing it. The weather today is rainy and dreary so I figure it is a good day for a review…or a nap. Maybe a nap after the review. Highland Park Dark Origins came onto the whisky scene a few years ago. Another Non Age Statement (NAS) whisky to annoy the whisky purists. I have tried the Highland Park 12 and remember enjoying it. It is probably the whisky I would most recommend to people starting out in their exploration of single malt whisky. The Dark Origins is supposed to be a richer, darker whisky with more first fill sherry casks to give it a deeper sherry character. I did my research and reviews were good and bad. I enjoyed the Highland Park character I found in the 12 year so I figured I would enjoy the extra sherry maturation in Dark Origins. Also being bottled at 46.8% ABV helps. Non Chill Filtered and I believe natural color. I think I paid about $75 in late 2016.

Nose – Big sherry, dark fruits, caramel, soft vanilla, light underlying smoke, slightly medicinal, light pepper and spice, complex deep notes of sherry, spice and intertwined smoke. Highland Park character is there covered with sherry. Great nose.

Taste – sweet sherry on the arrival, candy sweetness, quickly turning spicy, then dark fruits,chocolate…bitter chocolate and smoke. very quick changes in your mouth. Does not taste young. Good mouth feel.

Finish – short/medium finish – I wish it was longer. I wish there was more smoke on the finish but that may take away from the sweetness so I think it is properly balanced there. There is nothing off putting on the finish – I just want more!

Favorite Part – The Taste.

Conclusion – Some reviewers have hated this expression. I have to say I really love it. Maybe there are batch variations but my bottle has been going down fast. My wife also really enjoys it. I heard recently that it is being discontinued so I will probably try to get another bottle before it is gone for good. Over the years I have come to realize I enjoy certain distilleries more then others. Highland Park is on my short list of distilleries I enjoy. Dark Origins is a bit expensive for a NAS but for me it was worth it.

Rating – 82/100

  • Presentation – 5/5
  • Nose – 23/25
  • Taste – 30/35
  • Finish – 18/25
  • Value – 6/10

 

Whisky Review #39 – Laphroaig Quarter Cask

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Intro – Considered by many whisky drinkers to be one of the strongest expressions from Laphroaig. Quarter Cask is a No Age Statement (NAS) whisky which has been matured in standard ex-bourbon and then transferred to smaller quarter casks. These smaller casks allow for quicker maturation. Bottled at 48% and unchill-filtered. Nothing on the packaging about being natural colored so I assume they add color. This was my 2nd expression of Laphroaig after having the standard 10 year old. This is my 2nd bottle of Quarter Cask I have purchased. $45 to $50 in my area.

****Reviewed neat on 10/19/2016****

Nose – vanilla, smoke, caramel, wood, dusty apples, licorice, sweet grass, pepper, dirty rubber tires – Nice balance of sweet and smoke.

Taste – sweet, spicy, vanilla, woody, pepper, smoke, caramel, young and in your face, taste bud abuser – Not as sweet on the taste as the nose.

Finish – licorice, a lot of wood, pepper, smoke – shorter finish then I expected.

Favorite Part – The Nose.

Conclusion –  The nose is very balanced and enjoyable. The sweet notes mingle well with that smokey Laphroaig character. The taste has the same notes as the nose but they are not as intense. The taste is still very enjoyable. The finish is quite short to me…maybe because I drink a lot of smokey whisky. One thing I don’t enjoy about this whisky compared to the standard 10 year old is the overly woody finish. Its almost a sickly wood finish. It’s the same flavor I get in what I would call “over-oaked” whisky. Meaning they left the whisky in the quarter casks too long…that’s just my opinion. I prefer the 10 year old to the Quarter Cask.  I’d love to see a 6-8 year old Laphroaig matured in ex-bourbon with no quarter casks involved. I recommend this if you like smokey whisky. It is priced well, consistent and highly regarded.

 

Rating –  79/100

  • Presentation – 4/5
  • Nose – 21/25
  • Taste – 28/35
  • Finish – 18/25
  • Value – 8/10