LA Scotch Club – XXX Tasting

No, not that kind of Tripple-X. From the L.A. Scotch Club website: (The specific meeting page is now archived) Scotch is traditionally distilled twice while Irish whisky three times. By tradition, an “X” is used designate each time a spirit has been distilled. Scotch would normally be XX, but on the occasions when it is distilled three times, you get a XXX expression. Only one distillery in Scotland regularly distills three times, Auchentoshan.

LA Scotch Club Malt Poutin' Night - archived

This evening’s tasting included several offerings from Auchentoshan, a Benriach and an Octomore Trestarig (pronounced “trace-arak”) Futures bottle that was limited to investors of Bruichladdich. 

Image from the distiller website


Auchentoshan 12

First DramWe started with the 12-year-old Auchentoshan. Bringing the measured dram to my nose, I noticed the strong alcohol scent and had my doubts about opening a tasting with this dram. It was a bit sharp to taste, but there was a nutty sweetness at the back of the palette with little hints of maple and vanilla that get stronger as the dram breathes. Bu the third taste, I was quite happy with the flavors.




Dram the 2ndAuchentoshan 3-wood

This is a bit more complex, with a dark caramel, wine barrel (sherry) scent skirted with cherry and touches of vanilla. It’s a little peppery on the tongue, but nice wood notes and long notes of sweetness. A bloom with drops of water opens up the nose, but doesn’t do much for the taste. This is not a new dram to me, but it one I enjoy quite a bit.



Auchentoshan un chill-filtered

Oh this is lovely. I remember this nose from Auchentoshan 10 year, a whisper of floral, and a flavor profile parallel to white wine. The mouth feel rolls around between being creamy and almost effervescent. The flavors and texture makes me want herbed chicken or risotto instead of this cheese pizza.

Auchentoshan Un-ChillfilteredSignatory Vintage Un Chillfiltered

  A drop of water brings the notes of hard candy
to the foreground without totally muting the other notes mentioned before.

 I think this would mix well,
or even be good over ice.





Bottle image is from the distillery

BenRiach 12, in the bottle and the glass

This one made me nervous – Benriach can be heavy with peat, but I was happily surprised, it’s nice for a brand that can go very peaty. Malty and a little syrup in the nose, with greener notes around the edges. Hits like the speyside it is, which is a bit jarring after the light lowlands, but not the roughest I’ve had by far.


pronounced "trace-a-rak"Octomore TrestarigBruichladdich Futures

This is a futures bottle, available to investors at Bruichladdich and this one is about five years old. The first scent is plastic, but there is fruit behind it, a promise of a better taste ahead. Going back the nose gets better, and different each time. This is another dram that gets better as it sits in the air a few moments.
The flavor is remarkable; light and soft, with fruit and grain in equal measure but without a hint of breakfast cereal. I could drink it all night. The mouth feel lingers with a creaminess that almost forces you to savor the dram slowly.



Auchentoshan 36

 This is the crown jewel of the night, the bottle that was put in the oak in 1966.

Distilled in 1966

Wow… all sweetness and wood on the nose, you can tell it’s been in bourbon casks. The taste is a good match with the nose, and not as quiet as I’d expect from something that has spent over 30 years in the wood. There is malted vanilla in the middle, quietly humming along with the woody almost caramel notes.  It’s a cask strength, so there is a burn, at the front and back of the palette… but water turns down that fire. This is kind of everything I like about lowalnds.


Auchentoshan 36

It is a delicious dram, and this is a remarkable experience, but I don’t know that if I’d pay over 1k for it. (Yes, that’s what is cost to procure.) I just didn’t find it that distinctive. I think I can find a similar profile in something half it’s age, and possibly, price.

The full line up

The full line up

As a casual, self-supported tasting it was a good time with good people and tasty drams, but; and you knew there would be one, I might arrange things a bit differently next time.

First, I’d offer a palette cleanser. Plain crackers, bread, black coffee, even some lemon slices to add to the water would help refresh the olfactory after three or four drams.

Arrange the drams so you start with something to open the senses (Classic or 3-wood) then move to the lightest offerings (Octomore Trestarig, Auchentoshan un chill-filtered.) Now that everyone is awake, but not burned out, bring out the special or rare offering, the 36-year-old in this case.  I’d cleanse the pallet here before moving to the other Auchentoshan offerings, the 12-year and 3-wood.  Lastly close with the peated Benraich.

Also, though I know time is of the essence, I would allow just a bit more time between offerings. I know by the time I had gotten a picture and analyzed the visuals and maybe the nose, the hose was starting to describe (and sometimes pass around) the next dram.  I wanted to spend a little more time with each offering; perhaps I’ll bring multiple glasses next time, but a few more minutes might have helped the appreciation.

All in all, the LA Scotch club puts on a good tasting; the people and the offerings are top class. I can’t wait for the next one.

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