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20150715_175358-1I’m writing this review whilst sitting beside the swimming pool in a home we are renting in Orlando, Florida. We’ve been saving since 2011 for this all-too-brief vacation. Just for the record, I love it here.

No stress. No worries. Well, maybe one. I was concerned that I’d have to “endure” this vacation as it pertains to my Scotch whisky collection. The last time we were in Florida, the concern drove me to skip over to the local liquor shop. And knowing that I probably wouldn’t finish off an entire bottle, I bought a bottle of Ballantine’s Finest. That, my friends, was a mistake. See my review of the Ballantine’s 21 for the details.

This time around, I decided I was going to bring something from home. But still, it needed to be something reasonably inexpensive just in case it leaked in the suitcase, or worse, it got swiped by one of the baggage handlers. I say that because so often during my travels to places like Russia, Lithuania, and England, it wasn’t uncommon for items to go missing from my suitcase – mostly food, believe it or not.

I happened to have an unfamiliar and unopened bottle of Auchentoshan American Oak in the back of cabinet. I’ve had it for a month or so with the intention of doing a review, but I’ve not had the chance. If I remember correctly, it was about $40 so if anything happened to it, I’d chalk it up as a casualty in the war for independence from my non-stop work life back home, and then I’d just wait until I got home to imbibe. I can wait, for sure. My tastes are just too top-tier.

20150715_183954-1Well, the bottle arrived with me unscathed and in pristine fashion. And so, here I sit, really enjoying what is my first vacation in a very long time, watching the kids splashing in the pool, and enjoying the company of my beautiful wife as she sits in a pool chair reading her books about photography. No one else around, well, except for a miniscule gecko who was friendly enough to perch upon my finger and pose for a photo. Don’t worry, I used to be a lifeguard. I am paying attention to the kids in the pool.

In the meantime, you should know that this Auchentoshan American Oak was a fine choice to serve in the travel pinch I described. I’ve been a big fan of the Auchentoshan distillery ever since I first taxed the Three Wood, and with each edition that has followed, I find that I’m yet to be disappointed. I must disclose, however, that I was indeed a little concerned that I might discover the “you get what you pay for” factor with this bottle (as I did with the Ballantine’s Finest) since its price tag swims at what I would consider the shallow end of the pool. Nonetheless, it more than sufficed with deep end style primarily because the sensations were so varied.

The nose was distinctly that of chocolate chip cookies with the minutest scent of caramel having been added to the batter. The palate delivers the crispness of the cookies, but it arrives with a sudden shift to something more like a citrus butter cookie. The finish teeters between medium and long depending upon whether or not you add water. It’s medium with and long without. Either way, the exit is a sweeter cola-like conclusion.

As I said, I’m glad I brought this edition along. And if this first go-round in luxury near the pool is any indication as to this travel companions friendliness, then I doubt I’ll need to worry about it leaking in the suitcase on the way home. I’m pretty sure – no wait, I’m positive – that this bottle will be empty by the time this family retreat comes to an end.

_MG_3375Oh, by the way, did I tell you how much I love Florida? Yeah, the family is pretty much going to have to drag me out of bed and tie me to the top of the minivan to get me to the airport. And when we get there, they’ll probably need to get one of the TSA officers to force me onto the plane at gunpoint. I won’t be going home without a fight.