21 year old Scotch
My husband is a huge fan of scotch, I know absolutely nothing about it except that he seems to like 21 year old scotch (or older) and his current favorite is Auchentochen (which is no longer available in North America). I want to get him a bottle for Christmas but have no idea what to look for beyond age. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Depending on how much you want to spend...
Our favourites at home are the McCallan 21 and the Balvenie 21 year old Portwood
The last time I looked at pricing, the Balvenie was $175 at LCBO
Both are very smooth and I/we do not find them peaty, so if your husband likes peaty, these likely won't satisfy
Use the search feature on the Vintages website
I didn't look for older but there are very few alternatives for 21 year-old right now:
1. CENTURY RESERVE 21 YEARS OLD CANADIAN RYE WHISKY
Canada | Highwood Distillers Ltd.
VINTAGES | 182626 | 750 mL | $ 48.95 (not a scotch of course)
2. GLENFARCLAS 21 YEARS OLD HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT WHISKY
United Kingdom | J & G Grant International Ltd
VINTAGES | 315614 | 700 mL | $ 124.95
3. GLENGOYNE 21 YEAR OLD HIGLANDS (IAN MACLEOD)
United Kingdom | Ian Macleod And Co. Ltd.
VINTAGES | 670562 | 700 mL | $ 154.95
There are also a couple of 'no stock' hits - the site is not particularly friendly.
On the website you can click on the item for a description (sometimes - and sometimes no description), and then click on 'FIND STORES' to discover where it might be available. If inventory is low, call first as it might be a 'phantom bottle'.
What's your basis for saying Auchentoshan isn't available i n North America? I see it quite often. Even if the original bottling of the 21 is not available (though I easily found at least one on-line), you can find independent bottlings.
If you are looking for something different though, I would go less by age than by style. The fact that two different Scotches are both 21 years old doesn't mean that they will taste anything alike. Auchentochen is a fairly light, triple distilled Scotch. In some ways, it is more similar to an Irish Whiskey than another Scotch. As to Scotch, you may want to try a Glenkinchie or Rosebank. For Irish, Redbreast may appeal.
Auchentoshen is available in the US. A friend of mine was the brand ambassador until three months ago. I was at a tasting event just this past summer.
That said, I, and many others in the industry feel that a 21 yr old is getting on the old side. The good end of old, but pushing it. Then that between 21-27 or even 30 yrs a single malt goes dead and over wooded. The 30+ ones then come back to life, the wood dies down and becomes floral.
Other than that I don't have any suggestions. I have been losing my taste for single malts over the years. I was at whiskeyfest two weeks ago and was actually bored by most of them. Now some of the bourbons, and especially ryes whiskeys stood out. And the artisanal whiskeys from the US.