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[Note: These are reposted from my blog (see profile), if anyone has an issue with this, please let me know!]
Auchentoshan (a toughie to pronounce: Aw-ken/tosh-an) is one of the few remaining Lowlander distilleries in Scotland. It’s also notable for its use of “triple distillation” to make its spirit. This means rather than using two stills to distill the beer-like wash twice, like most Scottish distilleries, Auchentoshan processes the new-make spirit in three stills (three times). This creates a higher-proof final distillate (around 82% ABV) which is lighter and sweeter in flavor than most Scotch. I wonder if they ever release a cask-strength bottling! Wowza! Note that many Irish distillers also triple-distill their whiskey.
The Classic bottling of Auchentoshan (a replacement for the previous ‘Select’ bottling of pre-2008) has no age statement, and is likely a vatting of various ages under the flagship 12-year expression. It is matured exclusively in ex-bourbon casks, which gives it delicate vanilla notes without overpowering the nuances of the triple distillate. I picked up a bottle of The Classic recently and enjoy it immensely. I have also had a dram of the 10-year bottling, which is no longer available, and I thought it was very similar. My notes for the Classic follow:
Lightly colored. Nose is big on the heather (or clover?) and the honey… light and crisp. Not too dry at all. Smells floral and peachy, almost like St. Germain elderflower liqueur. Very perfumed and floral, even without water added to open it up. The water brings out some lemony notes which make it smell a little too much like household spray cleaner to me.
Body is creamy, but not terribly heavy. Caramel praline ice cream developing into lavender and clover honey. The heather pervades, and introduces a green grassy, throat lozenge quality. Finally, a hint of bitter lemon peel. Again, water emphasizes the lemon while also thinning the body and bringing out more of that cleaning solvent character.
Finish is short-lived, but fades with dairy cream, salt water taffy, and honeycomb. Not very complex, but super tasty.
What a satisfying dram. It is delicate and subtle, sweet and crisp. Like a sugary glass of lemonade on a hot day. A little rough and undefined around the edges, no doubt due to its youth, which is also responsible for this whisky’s delightful crispness. I suggest skipping the water. This is, by the way, sometimes referred to as “The Ladies’ Malt”, because it is a fine (light) introduction to malt whisky for the gentler sex. It, however, doesn’t make me any less of a man that I enjoy it! …right?