Auchentoshan 36 year old 1966 Vintage, 49.4%

Price: $120 Issue: Summer 2003 Reviewer: John Hansell

Amber color, with gold hues. Soft, subtly seductive aromas of creamy vanilla, crème brulee, tropical fruit, oak, and a hint of mint. Light to medium in body-silky in texture at first, then becoming and firm. On the palate, the whisky starts out gently sweet, with creamy vanilla and honeyed malt. Subtle tropical fruit notes arrive mid palate. The whisky then begins to dry out fairly rapidly (this is a 36 year old Lowland after all), as dry resinous notes of vanilla, mint, and herbs reveal themselves. The whisky finishes dry, with notes of soft leather. The way the owners of Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch are handling vintage bottlings now is that specialty retailer orders an entire cask and sells it exclusively. This one is a Sam's exclusive. It's older than the previous, widely distributed 1966 bottling and less expensive too! You wouldn't expect a triple distilled Lowland whisky to age so gracefully. Auchentoshan is an exception to the rule. It has acquired the depth and maturity from extensive aging, yet it still manages to maintain its distillery character and Lowland gentility. Only on the dry finish does it really show its age. But that's a small price to pay for an otherwise very good single cask whisky at a very reasonable price for 36 years old.