Class: Lowland Single Malt Scotch
Reviewers: Andrew Owen, Brett Mullins
Auchentoshan, built in the 1800s and currently owned by Beam-Suntory, is located just west of Glasgow which makes it one of few single malt distilleries in the Scottish lowlands, the southern half of Scotland that is known for farming, rolling plains, and grain distilleries producing gentle column distilled grain whiskies used primarily for blending.
While Auchentoshan distills single malt whisky via pot still, it still holds true to the classic style of the lowlands, triple distilling its whisky (as opposed to the more common Scottish style of double distillation) which results in a cleaner, higher proof distillate. This shows through in Auchentoshan's ex-bourbon barrel aged malts, which are light and gentle. Here, however, we have the additional use of sherry casks to add influence to the malt. For more information on Auchentoshan's distilling process, check out whisky.com's distillery profile.
- Made from completely unpeated malted barley
- Aged (allegedly) 10 years in ex-bourbon barrels followed by 1 year in Oloroso sherry casks and 1 additional year in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks (hence "3 wood")
- Bottled at 43% ABV
- Chill filtered
Nose: Lots of typical sherry components. Dark plum and dark citrusy orange. Some raw brown sugar beneath the fruit.
Palate: Somewhat rough. Feels like a younger, less refined whisky, despite being aged around 10 years. The heat dissipates quickly upon entry to reveal creamy dark plum sauce, figs, and hints of citrus. Maybe some tobacco. Light, slightly oily mouth feel.
Finish: Sweet plum and fig. Black pepper. Short to medium in length.
Buying Recommendation: Worth buying a pour. This is a textbook example of "try before you buy". I feel that it is underdeveloped; there is a nice base of flavor there, but there's little depth. This can either hint at less-than-stellar-quality casks being used, or the malt just not being in the cask long enough (aka it's too young). Its not bad, but unless somewhat one-dimensional low proof sherried drams are your thing, you can likely find something better to spend $55 on.
*Here at WBSE, we sometimes drink the same whiskey (Surprise!) and we find that most often, two or three opinions are better than one (unless one of them is Greg's). We like to see how our own tasting notes compare with each other, and you will get multiple opinions on overall score! Everybody wins!*
Nose: The nose is rich with dried fruit and cocoa. There is an underlying nuttiness and a hint of soft spices.
Palate: Layers of dried fruit greet you, bringing plums, raisins, and red apple. As it develops, the nuttiness of the nose returns and turns into oak, chocolate, and cinnamon. The flavors are clean and clear. Perhaps they are correct about the effect of the triple distilling. Absolutely no burn.
Finish: Oak, brown sugar, and cinnamon linger fairly long, while the hint of chocolate and fruit dies more quickly.
Buying Recommendation: Buy it Now! This whisky is a delectable blend of all of my favorite whisky flavors. I had passed over this label for far too long. Don't make that same mistake!
The Rating Scale
At WBSE we use a true 100 point scale for scoring to allow whiskeys to further differentiate themselves (as opposed to a letter grade scale where 90% of whiskeys fall between 78-92). This allows you to more easily compare scores between different whiskeys. Here is how the scale breaks down:
1-49: Varying degrees of bad
60-69: Better than average
90+: truly exceptional
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