Auchentoshan 1988 Wine Cask Finish

A 25 year old 1988 vintage. That’s quite enough about me though. Feeling a little guilty that I haven’t got to this whisky already (we received the package with the sample about a month ago), I’m now making a concious effort in these busy ‘already-sort-of-started-but-also-still-building-up-to-Christmas-retailing’ times to get to it before my birthday, after which I’ll suddenly have a little less in common with it.

Everybody enjoys getting their hands on a whisky distilled in the year of their birth, it’s fun. It’s one of those things that shouldn’t really matter perhaps, but many people are willing to fork out that little bit (or lot-a-bit) extra to get their paws on something from ‘their vintage’. Something that’s spent the same amount of time on this oblate spheroid as they have. Indeed, some whisky lovers go out of their way to secure these as often as possible. But if it’s the same age as you as well? Better still, surely?

“It’s Your Birthday…”

Now, if I was going to select my own early birthday pressie I might not choose something finished in wine casks to be honest… Let’s trust Rachel Barrie until proven otherwise though. Also, I say ‘finished’, but this 25 year old Auchentoshan single malt whisky actually spent 17 whole years in first fill barriques! (They’re from Bordeaux – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The first 8 years were spent in North American ex-bourbon casks.)

Before we get to the tasting notes though, check out the bloody great big silver chalice/pimp cup they also sent! YEEAAAHHHH!!! As the whisky’s 25 we’re actually told that this giant wieldable goblet has been included to mark its silver anniversary (but also ‘coz they just can’t stop this pimpin’, right?).

(Oh yeah, we’re on Instagram now…)

Auchentoshan’s longest ever ‘finish’ and the longest wine finish ever in the whisky biz, it’s entirely believably claimed. So, how did it turn out? “Let’s Go!”

Tasting Note for Auchentoshan 25 year Old 1988 Wine Cask Finish (47.6% abv.):

Nose: Fresh blackcurrants and thick summer fruit coulis, muscovado, cheesecake, a fresh leafy note that’s hiding behind vanilla at full strength. Hints of rocket with a little balsamic before plums, nectarines, mint, sweet liquorice and jam making emerge, especially with a little water.

Palate: Now we’re really in wine country. Black fruits and baking spices abound, fantastic wine influence at full strength. Impressive.

Finish: Sweeter than the palate, long, pleasantly tannic, still fruity, especially black cherry and vanilla.

Overall: Deep copper in colour, I was right to reserve judgement here – the palate is excellent. From the window to the wall, this is what those other red wine cask matured whiskies were trying to head for isn’t it?! Sort of makes sense now. Many of those also didn’t start with a spirit that was in any way as suited to purpose as this triple-distilled, bourbon matured Auchentoshan obviously was, which never helps either.

1,800 bottles of Auchentoshan 1988 have been produced and it will retail at around the £250 mark. Oh and don’t let the Lil Jon references put you off, even Michelle Obama’s at it these days…


…so it must be “OKAAAY!”