Review – Auchentoshan Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Sitting barely off the banks of the River Clyde, and very nearly in suburban Glasgow is the Auchentoshan distillery. Very much therefore a lowland distillery, it is one of only six in the region, and can track its origins back to 1800. The distillery is particularly proud of the fact that every drop of their spirit is triple-distilled (which allows them to achieve an 81% abv distillate) and their fondness for ‘old-time’ methods such as using Oregon pine for their washbacks. A mix of bourbon, Sherry and wine barrels are used for ageing.
Auchentoshan Three Wood
The distillate used to create Three Wood is aged in three different casks before blending and bottling. First up are ex-Bourbon casks, then ex-Olorosso Sherry, and finally ex-Pedro Ximenez Sherry.
Nose: Immensely fruity and chewits sweets-like upfront, moving onto almost floral bubblegum before a touch of oak pops by to remind you this is a whisky not a liqueur. With creme brûlée, oranges, sweetcorn, baked banana, blackberries and raisins all vying for attention, this is a complex and appealing aroma.
Neat: You could easily be forgiven for thinking this is a bourbon, such is the dominance of sweet American whisky-like character. It is only the fleeting appearance of a malt note in the mid-palate that reveals the trickery. The sherry flavours are perceptible but do not dominate, instead contributing more of the dark fruit character present on the nose. Smooth and silky with a backbone of creme caramel, this is a whisky for those with a sweet tooth, who will be most delighted with it.
Mixing: Unsurprisingly, this whisky behaves very much like a bourbon; to the extent that it might be considered a ‘gateway’ spirit for fans of either category that have not been swooned yet by the other. The characteristic smooth, sweet profile does need a little accounting for, particularly as this is not commonly what has been catered for in classic Scotch whisky cocktails. The Rob Roy for instance is delicious, but not quite as delicious as the slightly drier Affinity cocktail. Both make good use of the herbal qualities of vermouth to add an extra layer of complexity which is not so present in the neat spirit. The Bobby Burns too, with its inclusion of the herbal Benedictine is much improved by the addition of some bitters in order to balance what would rapidly become excessively sweet. The inclusion of bitter flavours into the mix works well across the board, oftentimes bringing out the sherry notes over those from the Bourbon casks. Using the Three Wood in place of Bourbon in the Boulevardier works a treat, and as so often is the case, makes a case for this cocktails superiority over the more famous Negroni. To really cut through and open things up however, you’ll need to bring out the citrus, and this makes for an excellent Whisky Sour. Add a little heat from the ginger-based Pencillin however, and you’ll find this bottle depleting very rapidly indeed.
Auchentoshan Three Wood is a smooth, sweet bourbon-like Scotch whisky that is most at home making excellent cocktails. It’s sweeter-than-most character brings something different to the table compared with other single malts, and this needs compensating for when mixing in traditional Scotch-whisky cocktails.
Auchentoshan Three Wood is available to buy from Master of Malt.
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.