Spirit Realm: A Little Wine with Your Whisky

Auchentoshan’s 1999 Vintage Bordeaux Cask Matured is entirely aged in wine barrels.

Most likely you’ve already heard of cask-finished whiskys—spirits that spend their final days or months in barrels that previously held wine or complementary spirits.

But a fully cask-matured whisky—entirely aged in wine barrels—is rare.  Auchentoshan’s 1999 Vintage Bordeaux Cask Matured bottling, newly released to the U.S. market, is one such rarity.

In this case, the Lowlands Scotch has rested for 11 years in casks that previously held Bordeaux wine, starting in 1999 (no, this bottling has nothing to do with the 1999 Bordeaux vintage). A mere 300 bottles are available in the U.S.

Does it taste like wine? Not exactly, although the character is unmistakable. The Scotch has a ruddy tinge and a juicy scent that nods to red wine, rose petals and pink peppercorns.

On the palate, this spirit is full bodied and warm, with toffee and crème brûlée notes and a touch of hazelnut. So go ahead, sip your Scotch from a wine glass. We won’t tell. $70/750 ml

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