We’re all susceptible to marketing, whether we believe it or not.
How products sell themselves is carefully orchestrated, with the resulting effectiveness often varying in its success, but designed to get our attention. Many of us are brand snobs when it comes to certain products, and later come to realise the supermarket own brand is often just as good, but we fell into the trap laid by the marketing team through their advertising campaigns, the glitzy packaging and even perhaps the premium pricing – if something is more expensive, it’s got to be better, right? Whatever the method used, a picture is being created inside your mind that is trying to persuade you to make that purchase.
We see a lot of marketing speak in whisky that most of us take with a pinch of salt, such as “matured using only the finest oak casks” and “left to age peacefully and undisturbed in our warehouse for xx years”. I’m more likely to get excited by yeast strains, fermentation times and barley specification, but those phrases are so commonplace on the packaging of many of the whiskies we see on the shelf, that they must have an affect on some consumers.
That leads us into the subject of today’s review, which is a single cask bottling from an independent bottler that is trying to capture certain markets with the way they brand their releases. Global Whisky Ltd was new to me prior to buying this bottle, and one of their other brands you may have seen is called Concept 8. It revolves around the popularity of the number 8 in many Asian cultures as a symbol of good luck and fortune. It comprises of eight year old whiskies from various distilleries, all bottled at 40.8%. I personally wish they would move that decimal point along, as although they appear to be sensibly priced, with a bottling strength that low, I have been happy to spend my money elsewhere.
The Auld Goonsy brand of whiskies has done a much better job of attracting my attention, and appears to be focussing more on the type of whisky drinker who wants a well presented whisky, with plenty of information on the label and a higher ABV…so that’s most of us whisky fans covered. It centres around a story of a mystery man who has worked in a cooperage for many years, and with his friends being ex-distillery managers and whisky enthusiasts, they have got together to select these specific casks for this range of single cask whiskies. The bottling strength is also selected by this panel of experts, who will sometimes suggest the whisky be bottled at cask strength, or perhaps a little lower, if they feel it benefits from it. The label talks about how Auld Goonsy will tell you many stories of his time working in bonded warehouses and distilleries, but seeing as he is a mystery, he isn’t going to be telling any of us very much at all! Is that him on the label? Is he real? Is he made up? Who knows? I guess we have to take the marketing with a pinch of salt and instead look at the facts.
This Teaninich has been bottled at 50% ABV, and is from a single ex-bourbon hogshead cask numbered 709926. It is one of 355 bottles and was distilled on the 16th June 2008 and bottled on the 3rd September 2020. It is also clearly labelled as being natural colour and non chill filtered, so we are getting some great information there. The only thing missing is whether it was a first fill or refill cask, but I guess we can’t have it all, eh? My money is on it being a refill. There’s also a QR code on the label that takes you to a website that doesn’t appear to exist. Perhaps if it was there it would have had even more information for us.
Auld Goonsy’s Malt Teaninich 12 Years Old – Review
Nose : Sharp and sour apple, almost towards an apple cider vinegar, but there is enough sweetness there for that to be a pleasant aroma. There’s plenty of vanilla and a light acetone note, as well as a floral orange blossom, malt and farmyard aromas. The more time I spend with it, the more of a satsuma aromas comes through, with honeydew melon, plain candle wax and a puff of diesel fumes.
Palate : There’s not a huge amount of body in the mouthfeel, but it is nice and oily. Again it’s sharp at first, with sweet and sour lemon, orange and honey. We get an abundance of sweet vanilla cream along with a waxiness and a whisp of subtle smoke. I know they don’t use peated malt at Teaninich, but that touch of smoke is there, and I can only assume it has perhaps come from cask char rather than the malted barley. This is super creamy whisky, and when they mention vanilla milkshake on the label they were not lying! There’s a good kick of warming spicy ginger coming through, which as it starts to fade reveals salted caramel. In the finish the ginger and salt continues, with the salt beginning to assert itself as it lingers, before we start to notice some oak coming through along with hazelnut and apple peels.
Conclusions : Auld Goonsy and his tasting panel of experts from the whisky industry have done a good job here. The experience is a positive one, but the palate’s sweet and sour fruits and vanilla cream, along with those wax notes and touch of smoke are particularly notable. If I was to be super critical, it does get a bit salty and a touch oaky at the end for my taste, but there are certainly more positives than there are negatives here.
I purchased this some months ago for £48.95. I was doubtful any of the 355 bottles are still available, but I noticed Aberdeen Whisky Shop have it on sale for £46.50 at time of posting. I have absolutely no complaints at that price, and I would have no hesitation in picking up something else from the range that attracts my attention, if the price was right.
Score : 6/10 Good
(Score descriptions can be found in the About page)
ABV : 50%
Non-chill filtered : Yes
Natural Colour : Yes
Maturation : A single ex-Bourbon cask
Region : Highland
Colour : Straw