I don't know how I missed the boat on this one, but when I tasted the new Auchentoshan Bartender's Malt this week I grabbed a bottle from the freshly delivered cases, threw down my credit card, and rang myself up for one. I've always enjoyed Auchentoshan (as I think it's the great blue collar whisky of Glasgow and the American Oak is the most underrated malt in the business), but we always have a problem selling it at K&L because I think customers tend to find it a bit too ordinary. In a world where everyone's constantly looking for the next rare bottle opportunity, the value-oriented malts from the Beam/Suntory-owned Lowland producer are perhaps not exciting enough. I hope that changes, however, with the arrival of the Bartender's Malt because not only is it lip-smackingly, mouth-coatingly delicious, it's also quite an amazing value given the make-up of its cepage.
Auchentoshan named this whisky the "Bartender's Malt" because it was designed and blended by a team of twelve different bartenders from all over the world who helped to select the barrels. Here's the really compelling part: they used single malt whisky from the 1970s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, and current decade in the blend, from ex-Bourbon, ex-Sherry, ex-wine, and even German oak barrels! I've said it before and I'll say it again: innovative blends like this are what's going to drive the business moving forward, in my opinion, especially in a market where single barrel pricing is proving to be cost prohibitive and access is getting more and more difficult. For the very affordable price of $42, this is a drinker's whisky. It is absolutely jam-packed with sweet barley flavor, loads of vanilla, spicy ginger, candied orange peel, and a symphony of oak and baking spices on the finish that light up your mouth for minutes with distinct and supple flavors of milk chocolate. Bottled at 47% ABV, it's got punch as well.
This is my new house single malt. I suspect it's going to stay that way for some time. My highest recommendation here for a sub-$50 malt. Bravo!