So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Auchentoshan ‘Three Wood’

An active, no, thriving lowlander! Right outside Glasgow to boot. Truly triple distilled stuff, so this is a rare breed in the modern industry.

Triple distillation has its perks and drawbacks, it makes an easy drinking light bodied whisky that is gentle and fruity. And that same feature makes it somewhat bland to other drinkers. In theory this pliable nature should make Auchentoshan capable of huge  aging and taking to cask technology.

Auchentoshan is owned by the Suntory group, making it a stable mate of Bowmore and Glen Garioch. One might say the Japanese choose their distilleries the way they built their stills. Varied. And that is no jibe.

Opened in 1823, but the practice of (illicit) distillation went on long before: the premises originally housed a monastery. It changed hands through its somewhat unrecorded history, finally coming into the possession of a Eadie Cairns in 1969. That’s when we know there was a renovation which removed the traditional equipment. Mr Cairns sold it to Morrison Bowmore in 1984, who were in turn acquired by Suntory in 1994. The distillery’s subsequent reinvention is probably the best thing that has happened to Auchentoshan in a long while, substantially raising its profile and popularity.

Not a bad looking distillery!

Auchentoshan ‘Three Wood’,  43% ~circa 2010 bottling




Triple distilled and matured in American bourbon oak; the whisky is finished in Spanish Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. The result: a Lowland single malt whisky rich with dark fruits, thick butterscotch, roasted hazelnuts and the signature smooth, delicate Auchentoshan taste.

Right so finished in Oloroso and PX – that means aromatic dry sherry meets sweet jammy desert sherry.

Nose  Nose: Fruity in a blackcurrant jam and orange zest way. Quite young too – spirity but it’s well ‘hidden’ behind these black pepper, burnt sugar/charcoal notes. Almost gritty. Also hanging around – obvious new white wood, with tag along oak spices and vanilla. It is a sweet pleasing whole though, really. Smells lovely and drinkable. Ok breathing deep… Sandalwood, and some stale white flowers.

Taste  Palette: Sweet malt, light sprinkling of grated orange zest. But almost underage –   spiritiness is there but disguised. Bourbon notes of leather and polished wood is present but somewhere in the background. Out in the front: This burnt gristle, charcoal/ burning sugar taste. Then slowly, the sherry asserts itself. Sherry notes, but wait, madeirized notes of oxidised fruit and toast. What happened to the sherry casks? Becomes herby and dry towards the finish. Well balanced, very drinkable, totally engineered. I like it.

Finish  Finish: Medium, dry and puckering.

Score 70


So it’s a completely manufactured product, but so is cotton candy. To its credit, excellent blending, made to appeal, yet not boring as it does have some quirks. And it is insanely quaffable in a non-committal way. Downside? Feels like I haven’t tried real Auchentoshan yet.

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This entry was posted on April 28, 2014 by in Auchentoshan and tagged .
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