Along comes an Annual Limited Edition (This is the 2016 edition, number #01… I guess the ‘0’ signifies that they have confidence there will be at least 9 more?) called “The Bartender’s Malt”. This is an NAS release assembled via some media stunt involving a cadre of 12 “international” bartenders of some renown, apparently.
As a value malt, this has a few ticks in its favor over the Classic, which it is replacing in the permanent Auchentoshan portfolio. $35 is not an unfair price for this light, straightforward NAS malt.
Auchentoshan 18 is a clean, light, elegant malt. That said, it doesn’t show a great deal of improvement over younger Auchentoshan, and seems to be aged in a way that picks up minimal wood.
If this was once Auchentoshan, the sherry monster murdered it and stuffed it in a closet. While Auchentoshan Classic is understated, vanilla, and crisp, this is resinous, sticky-sweet, and overripe. That’s not to say it’s bad.
What a satisfying dram. It is delicate and subtle, sweet and crisp. Like a sugary glass of lemonade on a hot day. A little rough and undefined around the edges, no doubt due to its youth, which is also responsible for this whisky’s delightful crispness.