Auchentoshan Three Wood: 43% abv
Background: Auchentoshan is a distillery in the Lowlands of Scotland, and is one of six remaining Lowland distilleries today. Of those six, only four are currently producing sellable whisky. The other two are just starting up. Auchentoshan is distinctive in the fact that it triple distils its whisky, which is common in Irish whisky but very rare in Scotch whisky. They have a 1.8 million liter capacity per year and are currently owned by Bowmore. The distillery is located in Dalmuir. Their Triple Wood bottling is a non-age stated whisky which has been sent from American bourbon casks to an Oloroso Sherry butt, and finally stopping at a Pedro Ximenez (commonly known as PX) Sherry barrel. Do you think sherry is at all prominent in this whisky? Oh yeah.
Nose: Rich, sherry, fresh grain, barley, vanilla, vegetal, grassy, light cream, slight chocolate, oily, malt, mellow spice
A/W: Big grain notes, sweet wine, light honey
Arrival: Sweet, big sherry flavor, raisons, light spice, cloves
A/W: More mellow, soft, creamy, gentle malt, balanced, vanilla
Body: Raisons, malt, sherry, hot spice, cloves, vanilla
A/W: Less spice, creamier, gentle
Finish: Sherry, vegetal, grainy, big malt flavor, slight tang, grassy, cognac, vanilla, caramel, maple, cloves, dry spice
A/W: Vegetal, modest spice, less sherry, light caramel, vanilla custard, sugary, lingering spice hotness
Final Comments: On the nose, this malt almost reminds me of Isle of Jura 10 year with sherry on top, which struck me as particularly odd. Smelling a whisky can be great foreshadowing to the taste, but in this case it was a little misleading. The slight oily, vegetal quality didn’t carry through exactly as I thought it would. The sherry influence is so obvious in this one, it makes this seem more like a Highland than a Lowland malt, but the creamy, gentle, fruity notes remind you of its delicate background and triple distillation. This whisky gives you an excellent spectrum of flavors, and you couldn’t ask for much more out of it. The mouthfeel is a little more syrupy than some, and there is surprising spice hotness to the body which could deter some novice drinkers. This is a great malt for the more experienced drinkers, and it competes well with Glenfarclas 12 Year.
Why you’d buy it: You love unique, complex whiskies with a strong sherry influence and clean, creamy taste.
Why you wouldn’t: You are not experienced with spicier or more vegetal whiskies and this intimidates you.