We start the week with two releases from Brave New Spirits.
REBELS The Guerrilla Casks Auchentoshan cask #700427
Distilled June 2010 and bottled March 2021, this 10yo Auchentoshan spent its life in a 1st Fill Marsala Wine Barrique.
A rich, wine-forward nose with vanilla, brown sugar, a touch of tamarind and some stewed fruits too. We're also finding some baking spices in the form of cinnamon, nutmeg and pink peppercorns. There's a light coffee note along with some slightly burnt toffee aromas as well. We're not really finding the Auchentoshan DNA in this dram, but there's a lot going on nonetheless.
We're initially getting a powerful alcohol spice, but it's quickly hidden by the wine cask flavours. It's very grape forward, like a powerful fortified grape juice. We're also finding more of those oak spices, hazelnut and pine sap. The mouthfeel is nice, it's very oily and the finish lingers for a while with some notes of peach, tropical pineapple and cinnamon.
Nose (with water)
We're finding some of those lighter, zestier and more tropical Auchentoshan aromas appearing after a fair whack of water is added. There's still a lot of wine influence on the nose, grappa, pine and lemon too. Definitely better with water.
Palate (with water)
The spice has receded, we're getting more grapes, peach, vanilla, brown sugar and a slightly dry, astringent flavour that lingers throughout the finish. The mouthfeel is still good, and the finish is still long, but we're not sure there's more balance gained here.
If you're looking for a light, tropical Auchentoshan then look somewhere else. This is the epitome of wine cask maturation overpowering a spirit, the equivalent of a marsala-bomb. Don't get us wrong, it's not a bad whisky, it's just a lot of wine and not a lot of anything else. Water helps out somewhat to reign in the wine, but we'd only be able to do one dram in an evening.
REBELS The Guerrilla Casks Deanston 11yo
Distilled September 2009 and bottled May 2021 this 11yo Deanston spent its life in a 1st Fill Merlot Wine Barrique.
A unique combination of aromas we've not experienced before, heaps of yeast, overripe bananas, moist earth and roasted chestnuts. Not what we were expecting from a red wine cask. It's very yeast forward, it's like sticking your nose into a jug of freshly bloomed yeast. With a little air we're finding damp wood, a little strawberry, a hint of apricot and some dark chocolate.
The palate starts off with sweet vanilla, chocolate, oak spice and a little white pepper. The alcohol is in good balance, there's a warmth but it's not overbearing. We're finding some freshly brewed coffee, green apple peel and a little lime juice. The mouthfeel is nice and the finish has good length with dry oak and the faintest wisp of smoke.
Nose (with water)
Slightly more red fruit appearing, richer coffee and cocoa aromas too. There's still a yeastiness here but it's not as prominent as before. We're also getting some shortbread, vanilla and dried orange peel.
Palate (with water)
Water brings out some more of the sour, zestier flavours with raspberry, cranberry and freshly turned earth. It has some drier, woodier flavours now, grapefruit and burnt wood embers. The mouthfeel and finish remain mostly the same, although as previously mentioned, a little drier than before.
Not what we were expecting. The overwhelming yeast aroma put us off a little, but the palate reassured us. We wouldn't have pegged this as a red wine cask, we're missing the stronger red fruits and tannins. It's an interesting whisky but unfortunately not particularly up our street.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.
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