Origin: Lowlands (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
AgEing barrels: Ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry Oloroso
Additional coloring: Yes
Average price: € 39.00
Oofficial website: www.auchentoshan.com
Islands aside, the geography of whisky in Scotland is quite simple: the Highlands in the north, Speyside in the centre and the Lowlands in the south. The Highlands are the largest region and once included Speyside, whose autonomy, due to the very specific character of its whiskies, has only recently been recognised. The same applies to Campbeltown, the main centre of the Kintyre Peninsula (which theoretically belongs to the Lowlands), whose spirits have such distinctive notes that they deserve a clear distinction.
Unlike in the Highlands and Speyside, there are not many whiskies in the Lowlands, and they are also little known. The best known of these is Auchentoshan (Gaelic for ‘corner of the field’).
The distillery is located at the foot of the Kilpatrick hills, just outside Glasgow, and is the only one, along with Springbank in Campbeltown with Hazelburn bottlings, to practise triple distillation. This production choice is important because it influences the body of its whiskies.
Auchentoshan’s core range is limited but significant: alongside the basic 12 year old, the subject of this review, we find an 18 year old, a 21 year old and two NAS, American Oak (matured entirely, as the name suggests, in American oak casks) and Three Wood (which has spent at least 10 years in Bourbon wood, one year in Sherry Oloroso and six months in Pedro Ximénez).
The 12 years, offered at the standard alcohol content of 40% ABV, is a beautiful honey colour.
Bringing the glass to the nose, you immediately get an impression of sweet citrus fruit, reminiscent of orange candied fruit, which is soon followed by an even persuasive hint of vanilla. A few minutes and a delicious aroma of milk chocolate appears and, in the background, a surprising and pleasant bitter note of walnut.
In the mouth, the citrus fruit slowly fades away and the taste stage is dominated by a vanilla that is not cloying and a chocolate that is not at all invasive, with nuts in the background.
The finish, which is not particularly long, tastes of malt and citrus again, but more subdued.
Auchentoshan is a distillery that deserves respect and consideration. Its whiskies are light in body and complex in spirit, we could sum up jokingly.
Their undemanding drinkability, reminiscent of American Bourbons, is a bridge to those unfamiliar with Scotch and those looking for an alternative to the obvious.
The Whiskey Jug