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.
I think of Glenkinchie, one of the few remaining Lowland single malts, as “the lemon malt”, although its actual nickname is “The Edinburgh Malt” for its location some 15 miles from the capital of Scotland. Glenkinchie was relatively obscure (used mostly in blends) before it became one of the jewels in Diageo’s Classic Malts crown, representing the Lowlands.
Loch Lomond, unfortunately not available in the United States, offers an NAS entry-level malt for bottom dollar. … Loch Lomond is a small distillery that quietly churns out product, and that product goes by many names including Loch Lomond, Inchmurrin, and Old Rhosdhu (among others). While classified as a Highland (or West Highland) distillery based on its location in Alexdandria, near Dumbarton, it is literally just up the road from Glasgow. Its style is also in line with Lowland malts: simple, subtle, light, and crisp.
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.