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Auchentoshan Three Wood

Average score from 32 reviews and 101 ratings 83

Auchentoshan Three Wood

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@huineman
Auchentoshan Three Wood

On ice at Dry Martini Bar, Madrid. It pours clean and dark orangish amber. Aroma is very high: tobacco, leather, hazelnut, cinnamon and sweet orange. Mouthfeel is pungent, powerful and just slightly sweet. Warm and oily, mouth-covering. Long-lingering finish with renewed spicy tinges. Quite nice.

Because of the places where I've tasted different whiskies? Take into account it's been over an extended period of time.

I get the impression that you're on a fantastic trip!

@asimeow

Tiny 5ml sampler bottle. Strong brown sugar and cinnamon. The ABV killed most of the finer flavours for me. Should've tried a drop of water in it.

@Uisgebetha

This is a fine looking malt in the bottle, well packaged with a deep dark amber colour to the whisky, very inviting. I have long enjoyed the simpler bottlings from this distillery at 10 and 12 years of age, but I’m not a fan of this variety. Not sure which forest the three woods came from, or how they’ve affected the spirit in this way, but the overall effect is rather strange and unbalanced.

The nose is much the best part of the experience as rich aromas of sherry, unrefined sugars, oak, cinnamon, mild Arabica coffee and singed toast envelope the sinuses. Unfortunately it’s downhill from here on, the initial taste is very sweet of sticky toffee pudding (which I love) but the sweetness is overpowering. Hints of sherry, butterscotch and treacle also feature with a bitter under current. The mouth feel is full to cloying. The finish is long but continues the sweet sickly theme with a bitter treacle finale.

I’m sure there is a time and place for a whisky of this profile, but I’ve not found either yet.

@vanPelt

This is not actually my 100th review (since #93 is a duplicate due to a website glitch), but I will celebrate the 3rd digit rolling around anyway, by returning to a favorite.
You’ll probably be interested to read this review only if you’re interested in batch variation of this malt, or else my “reflections” section near the end.

The Three Wood was actually my first Scotch single malt. Sometimes the hay-laden HP12 is often called the best gateway, but the Auchentoshan was a perfect entry for me— and I know it has been for others as well. It is a well crafted and accessible NAS, drinkable fresh (without much oxidation effect), complex from mixed maturations, and just affordable enough.
However, the wide range of malts that I’ve now had DO alter my impression of it, so this review is partly a reinterpretation.

Background: —————- You can find my original Connosr review here: connosr.com/reviews/auchentoshan/… but my lasting first impression can be summarized: delightful butterscotch with lots of spicy flower subtleties, and some overtone of oak.

Luckily, I saved a small sample from that original beloved bottle, which I’d bought at the Edinburgh airport. So now I will finally get to compare the original bottle “A” with the newer one “B”.

Color:

Usually I don’t care to talk about this, but the first thing I notice after pouring A and B is an unmistakable color difference. I don’t need to worry at ALL about keeping track of which glass contains which malt! Malt A is ordinary “amber”, and B is an obvious 2 shades darker. I am not annoyed much by E150a (aside from feeling a little insulted), but it does somewhat bother me that it’s not serving its original purpose (to ensure reproducible color between batches).

On to the Nosing: ------- A: Ahh… lovely, just how I remember it— so I had not just conjured a false impression. This is strong-butterscotch-with-an-edge: the other elements just add and give an impression of “butterscotch^2”, in sequence: “butter” ,vanilla and caramelized bits, woody-maple plus flowers, which tickle the senses and trick you into thinking the butterscotch has blown your mind. There isn’t much fruit here, but I find “caramel apple” describes this nicely, the more I breath it.

B: Oh! It actually IS different. I would not call this one butterscotch, but rather dark brown sugar glaze. No more butter or apple, but “deeper”, with more coffee grounds and wood (maple and oaky nutmeg).
The woodiness is in good balance, and B’s “darker” tones are at least as good as A’s butterscotch (it is just different). However, an extra element in B detracts at the end of inhaling: MSG and… green young-ness, as if those coffee grounds are revealed to be actually raw and bitter. So, “A” wins; and a fresh breath confirms it.

Tasting:

A: What a smooth vanilla-milk entrance. And yes, there’s that wave of oak behind it: woody (nutmeg and hazelnut) tones, with the only sweetness coming from vanilla. A general toffee undercurrent.

B: A first hit of burnt toffee, with wood tones quickly crashing through: oak and orange zest peak. The oak stays, while a smoother leathery feeling hosts some tannic flavors: especially bitter grape skins and bitter-dark chocolate. There is not much for fruit here, but I could most identify red grape behind the slight burn.

Finish:

A: Toffee/caramel, still delectable and buttery sweet. Accents of woody and floral nutmeg.

B: The grape skin tannins remain, along with lingering wood tones: hazelnut shells and peppery nutmeg. Some vanilla around the tongue, playing a smaller part.

Overall Comparison:

I think it is clear: this reconfirms my suspicion that my first bottle of Three Wood was superior. Malt A is very much about butterscotch, with vanilla/butter/toffee in the lead— and wood tones a minor part. Malt B is deeper in flavor but also very tannic: wood tannins and grape skin tannins. So I stand by my high rating of malt A in my original review. My score reflects B though, since it is previously unreviewed.

Reflections:

Since my original interpretation of the Auchentoshan Three Wood, I think the main change in my understanding of taste is my experience with “woodiness”. My first few single malts had palates quite heavy in woody character, and I assumed that this was expected in any malt whisky. In fact, I’ve learned that the majority of quality malts are much tamer, in this regard. Similarly, I’d assumed that that youthful “grassy” tone was inherent to all spirits and could never really go away. Again, I’ve learned that more mature and quality malts are able to eliminate this young bitter-ish green flavor, which slightly stings my experience. Now I recognize that this youthfulness is present just ever-so-slightly in malt A, and of course it is clearer in malt B. As I re-evaluate the Three Wood, one other surprise is its lack of sherry fruits, considering that 2 of the 3 “Woods” are sherry. This is nearly a fruit-free malt (and to some extent nut-free), relative to what I’ve come to expect.

Comparisons:

Identifying similar malts is the hardest part of reviewing, but as a reader myself I think they are one of the most useful approaches to understanding or exploring. So I try and try, even though any comparison is doomed to fail. But I still believe that an imperfect comparison is better than none at all: if you know the comparisons, then you can “connect” with the reviewed malt; if not, then you have paths for branching out.

First of all, the Three Wood has many elements of other “double cask” (or, naturally, “triple cask”) expressions, and I usually conclude that the Auchentoshan Three Wood is the best of this kind. Consider the Balvenie DoubleWoods, both the 12yo (far inferior) and 17yo (almost as good as my newer Three Wood). Balvenie’s travel exclusive Triple Casks expressions are also similar (woody malt vanilla) but I found the 12yo and 16yo too grassy and spicy. Sullivan Cove’s Double Cask may be the best example of a multiple cask malt with decent quality. Then there is the very good Arran 14, which has a lot of the oak, nutmeg, and vanilla tones, but adds some walnut and more light fruit. The Isle of Jura 21yo is quite similar but drier, with oak and coffee grounds prominent over any trace of fruit. Finally, Glenlivet’s Naddura may be my best example of a malt with similar woodiness but which shows a slightly fruitier side of Scotch.

Within Auchentoshan, the 12yo is the only reasonably close one I know, out of 4 other core offerings. Some prefer it, but I find it less butter-driven and even woodier. It does improve with age, though, and it is worth a try for its price.

That’s it! Thanks for bearing with me— my nostalgia here, and my reviews elsewhere: I hope they are of some use to someone out there. See you next time for the “real” 100th.

Thanks markjedi, means a lot coming from Toshan Man :-) as it did in my first review: connosr.com/reviews/auchentoshan/…

I try to not be so "in-depth" unless I consider it a special circumstance....

I forgot to mention: I didn't remember at first where I got the 2nd bottle (malt "B"), but seeing it is 750ml means it was from the US-- So I'm sure I picked it up passing through ATL a few years ago. I wonder whether different qualities can be expected from different geographical markets....

Thanks for the encouragement @Jules , I'm glad there was something convincing, even if it malt B wasn't as fantastic as my first. Like I said, I haven't had another one in their line-up that I prefer over the Three Wood, but at this date I have only tried the following others:

12yo connosr.com/reviews/auchentoshan/… 18yo connosr.com/reviews/auchentoshan/… Select connosr.com/reviews/auchentoshan/… Classic connosr.com/reviews/auchentoshan/…

@Magnus

When it comes to (Scotch) whisky, my heart is divided into two with each of its' halves lying in Speyside and Highlands respectively. But one needs an inspiration from outside one's promised lands sometimes and one needs to depart from his comfort zone into pastures new every now and then. At least once in a while one needs a challenge. So, it's time for my second (a good deal of months after the first one) bottle Auchentoshan Three Wood Tripple Distilled. Irish ways down south in Scotland, eh?

I have read some inspirational reviews (@markjedi1 and @rigmorole, I'm looking at yours, as a very different, but equally inspirational ones) on this one so I decided to give my humble two pence of worth. I have owned a bottle of this dram many months before and my memories are fond and warm, but I remember that some of my friends and acquittances said they've found it too hot, too woody and somewhat harsh on the palate. So, let me revisit this one for my own pleasure and for contribution to the network as well.

There's some (maybe quite a lot) E150 in Auchentoshan TW, it's visible. It's also stated at the label at the back of the bottle. Beautiful color nevertheless, although meaningless for the overall mark. Having said that, the shape of the bottle somewhat reminds me of the bottle of Singleton Of Dufftown 12 Year Old scotch. Let's hope this dram doesn't taste like SoD (bland and meek) and that it will be as much fun as the bottle I've drank to the last drop so gladly in the past.

Nose: sherry, cherry, cinnamon, oak. An orange peel hint. Freshly sharpened pencils. Autumn leaves. Sandalwood?! Oh, I adore sandalwood and this is the most unusual place to find it. How did I miss that the last time around? Have I been sleeping or something. A magic, woody nose! A nose that is willing to show you not the forest, but the forest Driads' dark secrets from within the wood's trunk. A very untraditional, but otherwise divine nose.

Palate: This one is heavy. It isn't smooth, nor delicate. This is a man's drink, even at 43%ABV. But I am a man's man, so what the hell? Sherry and very fresh oak all over the place. Robusta and Arabica coffee blend. XO Camus French cognac. Cinnamon. Oriental spices and wood, Wood, WOOD,. One gets the feeling that an oak has been cut down to shreds and glued to one's mouth using dark chocolate with pieces of orange instead of glue.

Finish: absurdly long and spicy, developing from cinnamon to sandal wood. MORE sandal wood. From sweet milk chocolate to grounded, unsweetened cocoa. A remarkable and unforgettable bitter-sweet-sour aftertaste. The wood lingers on and on. Hell, I felt it even after hours!

Complexity: this Auchentoshan dram combines spectacularly almost all of MY favorite scents, so I feel tempted to rate it very high. However, I need to try and be as objective as possible. This is not a very complex dram. It isn't multidimensional. It just promises something, not all, and delivers it devotedly. Gives as much as it is able to, but it isn't almighty. It also is NAS, has artificial coloring etc. This is not a typical, an IDEAL scotch. It is far from it! It would have had more complexity if it were to offer more floral notes and cask strength. It is an experiment, after all (triple distilled), it is colored, it boasts three finishes. It doesn't go smooth at all. It could be better off if bottled at cask strength. These flaws prevent it from going postal and way above the 90 mark in my book (which it should have if I wasn't trying to be as objective as possible).

Will I buy Auchentoshan Three Wood again? Damn, I'll even buy 2 bottles of this spicy man's drink! I cannot stress hard enough how much I like it. Will I wholeheartedly recomend it? Yes. Is it for everybody's taste? Hell no! That's why it will stay very close to the 90 point range - because it is not a universal truth. Only mine.

@MaltActivist thank you very much for yet another refreshingly positive feedback. If I wasn't stuck so far away I would have sent you over a sample. If you see it happening (I'm not too much into the international delivery services, but you may be), please, write me a short note as per how I can do it and you'll get a fresh shot of this woody heaven. I am serious! @vanPelt thank you and... do not hesitate, but pull this one out and shoot! :)

@Magnus Thank you so much for your generous offer! I'll pick up one up soon!

@sorren

Nose.. Starts with a sweet nutty oaky scent but is soon overtaken by dried fruits/ orange and cinnamon, toffee scents keep popping in to say hello ..

Taste..butterscotch, Sweet sticky toffee pudding, with a massive mouth full of dried fruits, dates/oranges even some Lemmon in there, it has the Auchentoshan nutty flavour, it's a dram that makes you chew not sip..

Finish.. Fresh, strong and long.. Oaky,syrupy and ending with the dried fruits, although it ends dry it's still mouth watering...

Although this dram has many of the auchentoshan flavours it brings so many new things to the table, It's a dram I keep comming back to, I would love to try this at cast strength, it's such a winter warmer, although it's not out of place in the late summer evenings,

Great write-up @sorren! Makes me even happier to have decided to pick this bottle up recently...the chewy/syrupy notes are something that my cabinet definitely needed!

As you know this is one I keep coming back to time after time, id love to have this at cask strength, I am sure it would be something special...

@talexander

I reviewed this whisky back in March 2012, so I'm re-posting it below. Tasting it again now, I don't like it as even as much as I did then (I only gave it a 78). I'm getting a fair amount of sulphur in this now, and find it quite rough on the finish. Anyway - here's my older review:

"I believe this is my first Auchentoshan review (though I have had 3 others in the past, I did not write about them). I know some who can't stand Auchentoshans, but I don't know why - I've found some interesting variety between the ones I've had - subtle but notable differences.

Auchentoshan is a triple distilled Scotch, which I suppose may be an Irish influence. The distillery was almost destroyed by the blitz during WWII, and in fact draws its cooling water from a pond in a giant bomb crater! This particular expression is matured in bourbon casks, and then finished in Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, and it shows - the deep reddish brown colour is one of the deepest I've seen in a whisky. However, I'm sure there is added colouring in here - I have a 16 year old Auchentoshan, matured in sherry casks, whose natural colour is close to a light reisling.

The nose is deep sherry, cherry, caramel, dates, molasses. Very rich and satisfying.

In the mouth, more sherry, mocha, stewed prunes, but also an herbal, oaky malt underneath which cuts through the sweetness nicely. Some citrus in the background. Water seems to do tame the sweetness but does little else.

The finish is shorter than you would think. Dark maple syrup and more pronounced oak linger in the background. I don't love this one but it makes for a good after-dinner dram. I don't tend to like sweetness in whisky but this one doesn't go so far as to turn me off. I prefer the 1999 Bordeaux cask expression (if you wanted something approaching the Three Wood), but my favourite is the aforementioned 16 year old (bottled by Dewar Rattray), which is very rare."

I always cry a little inside when the 3Wood lets someone down :-) It may not bowl you over, but I think it delivers value in taste and complexity-- definitely in relation to the price. Thanks for the other Auchentoshan leads. I have not seen them around but will be on the lookout.

@tjb

Let me start by stating that I am a fan of Auchentoshan. This expression is stored in 3 different casks. American Bourbon, Spanish Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks. This gives the expression it's name...Three Wood.

It's a caramel gold colour.

The nose is very woody. Almost like cedar it's so strong with orange and plums.

The palate gives dark chocolate, sherried dark fruit, citrus, nuts.

The finish is nutty and woody and slightly bitter.

For me, this is too woody. It's over powering and slightly bitter. I really like the 12 and prefer the classic to this on as well. Nice try but

It's a fake E150a color and this also impacts the flavor. I've tasted good and bad batches. Their vary even though the E150a does not. Note to Auchen: quit putting fake shite in your nice scotch. At least release a few bottlings at a reasonable price without the E150a, aye, eh, ayyyyyy. . . . . Happy Day.

I'm saddened when I see unsuccessful couplings with the Three Wood, since I think it is one of the best values. Yes, the oak can come across slightly strong (it was my "1 complaint"), but I think the 12yo is even woodier (and acidic).

One suggestion on seeing your "cedar" reference: I find that cedar-y notes can ruin scotches that are too warm. I know you're experienced, but just in case a cooler temperature would improve your bottle....

@Victor

The reviewed bottle is 80% full, has been open for 2 years, and has been gassed for preservation for 11 months.

Nose: There is lots going on here...at first, stale Coca-Cola, but in a pleasant way, plenty of sherry, I would say "sherry cough syrup", crabapples, maple syrup, Winesap apples, pears, raisins, prunes, 8 yo Cognac. This is much more expressive long-opened than it was at first, but it was also very good and very rich then, mostly with the wine influences thick and highly emphasised in the early months. Rich and pleasant. Strong intensity. A few minutes in the glass and this has developed a lot of high pitched confectioner's sugar notes and citrus peeks out from the background. A little water had the same effect as waiting with the glass and giving it air: confectioner's sugar and citrus come out

Taste: translates all of that baggage train to the mouth...decent, very pleasant; water brings out some of the more bass fruity elements. There is a bit of murkiness to the balance of the flavours, but it is a very pleasant murkiness, with only relatively small bits of the whole unexpressed. In this case I actually think it works to have some "bits" a little undefined and undifferentiated, and I like it just the way that it is

Finish: medium length for the full package of flavours; long for sweetness and remnants of wine. Water makes the finish longer for the fruity elements, especially for the deeper tones among them

Balance: Auchentoshan Three Wood divides whisky lovers. I am in the PRO camp. This bottle has held up well open for 2 years. I have always liked Auchentoshan Three Wood, and found the wine/fruity elements pleasant and relatively clean. New bottle or old, Auchentoshan Three Wood is a whisky I would recommend to sherry-finished Scotch lovers

Thanks for the review! Always great to see "PRO" support for a beloved scotch. I wonder whether your "murkiness" has to do with either oak influence or sweet elements-- 2 factors that others have described as affecting the balance. Personally I appreciate the added complexities and will keep this one as a constant member of the cabinet.

@OdysseusUnbound the short answer is "yes" I have noticed sulphur in Auchentoshan Three Wood, this reviewed bottle being my point of reference. Even at the time of the review, open a year plus and gassed for almost another year I did not notice the sulphur, though I would say now that the "murkiness" I described in the review was almost certainly the sulphur. The next time and every other time since then that I tasted from this bottle the sulphur became obvious to me. While you see I reviewed this bottle at 88 points what I now have left from this bottle would rate more like 72 points for me.

It is well to remember also that I did this review in September 2013, when I was just starting to sensitize to the presence of sulphur. If I tasted from that same bottle at that same stage of air exposure today I expect that I would have picked up the sulphur earlier and more clearly than I did.

Being able to pick up sulphur is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because it means that your senses are becoming more acute, but it is a curse because the flaws in all whiskies are becoming more noticeable. The biggest upside is that more acute perception allows even greater ecstasy in the appreciation of the very best products.

@Tomba

nose: typical Auchentoshan maltiness, medium sherry touch (not a bomb as Glenfarclas but remarkably pleasant), vanilla, butterscotch, dried fruits, christmas fruit cake, a lot of similarities with the 12 years old (triple distillation makes the spirit obviously lighter, more gentle and subtle) but fuller (43%) and with more fruit and sherry.

taste: sherry, honey, brown sugar, liquorice, typical Auchentoshan gentle malt flavour.

finish: bitter-sweet, blackberries, candied orange peel, dark chocolate, obviously longer than the 12y old, the european sherry cask oak is more present, pleasant bitter maltiness at the very end with a slight reminiscences of radish aftertaste (oak).

summary: nice upgrade of the 12y old, for all of those that like the Auchentoshan style and want a firmer touch of fruitiness and sherry in their malt. longer finish and more tasting notes coming through here. unfortunately the price is much higher than the 12y old, which in my opinion is not justified completely.

This is one that has really grown on me. I can't recall what I spent on it, but I think it is a very unique, enjoyable bottling that probably ranks among my top ten now (at least in terms of flavor profile).

With some drops of water the characteristic Auchentoshan nuttiness (toasted almonds)comes through, with raisins, marmelade, zabaione/eggnog and a rum characteristic... very intriguing, nice indeed.

@mosis522

This is the only Lowland whisky I have tried. From what I have heard Auchentoshan Three Wood is somewhat of an anomaly for the region. It is not delicate or subtle as many of the lowland malts are described. This does not however mean this is not a great whisky. On the nose there is Sherry, oak, brown sugar, caramel and vanilla. The palate delivers some of those sweet tastes of vanilla, fruitcake, orange peel and caramel then the powerful wood, spice and citrus notes really take over. The finish is long and lingering leaving a slightly smoky and sweet taste of charred oak barrel. A drop of water really brings out these beautiful flavours, overall a great whisky!

Try the Glenfarclas 17. It has a great flavor profile and price point. Sounds as if you might enjoy it.

R

Three wood indeed. What a pleasant surprise. I needed that. Today was a slow and lazy day with rain. No activity on the golf course, that's for sure.

Nose: Fruit compote (stewed apples, pears), caramel, sherry, cognac, rhubarb pie, oak, maple tree sap (weaker than actual maple sugar).

Palate: Lushly phantasmagorical; bittersweet chocolate, black forest cherry cordial. The wood comes through after swallowing but before the finish. Nice balance. Intensity grows as it sits in the glass. Seems to pick up strength with air. Added a few drops of water. The water did not make a huge difference other than bringing out the wood more. I liked the mouthfeel of this whisky as compared with the cheaper Auchentoshans, which have felt acidic around the borderline between teeth and gums. Not so with this gem of a scotch. Lovely.

Finish: Caramel salt water taffy, popcorn at a movie theater, woody hints of oak, followed by a touch of green "Granny Smith" apple.

The smell of one's glass after the whisky is gone is enough to prompt a second pour. "Bartender, I'll have another. . . ."

Good Review Sir. I had the pleasure of sampling this and 10 other whiskies the other night and I must say this one left an impression. It wasnt the most expensive or the oldest but man o man the finish on it was out of this world. I am def. picking myself up a bottle of this one! Let me just add that I am somewhat new to the whiskey world and look forward to trying many more.

I still order this whisky in bars. I have a spare bottle in my safe right now. I like this one a great deal, and I don't care what other well respected nose-lifters have to say about its flaws. All hail the three wood!

@squidboy007

This being the first lowland scotch I've tried, I was honestly expecting something far simpler than this! I had heard some talk about the few lowland malts being less full and interesting than some others- and I know this is a "special" bottling, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

It really reminded me of the wonderful Balvenie Doublewood- warming, sweet, and woody. But unlike the Doublewood (besides adding one extra wood, lol) the Auchentoshan had a sort of spicy bite lurking in it. It still had the sweet sherry wood. But if the Balvenie Doublewood is a candle, this is a sparkler.

Very complex stuff (I'm not even sure how many fruits were present) and probably a good way to introduce people to the drink. Not too sweet, not too intense, a little something for everyone and really, really good.

As a bonus, it had a really dark, beautiful color!

Nice Review. I really enjoy this whisky also. I purchased this because I wanted to experience a truly delicate whisky, but as you describe there is more to it than a simple whisky. A nice Spring whisky I think...Delicate, but enough to keep you warm on those windy rainy days.

Great review! People seem to either love the Three Wood or really dislike it. I, for one, love it. About a year-and-a-half ago, I drove four hours to pick up the only bottle left in Ontario (we were going to be in Toronto anyway), and the LCBO hasn't stocked it since. This is a dessert whisky - at Christmas with fruitcake or Christmas Pudding, or with a nice slice of chocolate cake.

@AKGcandlefish

Color: a rosy copper.

Nose: mmm. Thick and luxuriant. Cinnamon cooked apples. Butterscotch and caramel poured over vanilla ice cream. Old books! Just the slightest hint of pipe tobacco and burnished leather. Feels like I'm sitting by the fire in a wood-paneled den, lighting up a pipe after finishing an apple crisp à la mode.

Body: somewhat light-bodied.

Palate: hmm. Not at all what I expected from the nose, but that's okay. I was expecting something very sweet and spicy, like A'bunadh, but this is quite different. A very smoky, woody flavor. Oak and tobacco, but with a faintly sweet touch. Something like espresso somewhere in the background. The best adjective I can think of is dignified. Then again, I guess it isn't so far from the wood-paneled den, after all.

Finish: if there's disappointment in this dram, it is here. Very short finish. The tobacco flavor lingers, but that's about it. No real warming in the chest.

I quite enjoyed the first two-thirds of this dram. The finish left much to be desired, but the nose really brought about a tour of my sensorial memory. The palate was a work-horse. Not the most fascinating or nuanced flavors I've ever experienced, but very sturdy and satisfying, nonetheless. At $65 in my neck of the woods, I'd say this is slightly over-priced, but I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking to journey through the Lowlands.

@NickVerstijlen

My first review ever:

Nose: The first time I smelled this great dram, it instantly reminded me of a visit to Malaga a couple of years ago. The local drink in Malaga is "Malaga Dulce". And I love Malaga Dulce, which in fact is almost identical to Pedro Cheminez. It's great to smell the sherry-casks as good as this. Love it. Also, the scent of oak came across my nose...

Palate: Smooth. Very smooth. Really love it. And yes, yet again I was there in Malaga. My taste-buds welcomed the lovely sherry-taste, combined with some coffee-notes and a bit of the before-mentioned oak.

Finish: A long soothing finish, in which I thought to recognise some dry fruits

After I only had tasted Johnny Walker Green Label, Glenfiddich 12 y.o. and Jack Daniels, I consider this Three Wood to be my first entry into the world of the better whiskies. This is my new favourite whisky. "My preciousss". My journey into the world of whisky has begun...

@Pizaro

Though I have others in my cabinet, this is the first Lowland single malt I’ve opened and tasted - ever - if you don’t count Springbank, which is a riotous lion compared to this untroubling little lamb chop.

Two of the three woods referenced in the name of this unambiguous but piquant libation were sherry (Spanish Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez) and it shows in the deep red-amber color.

The legs are thin, slow and shy.

The nose is surprisingly forceful. Sharp sherry, peanut brittle without the peanuts, diet vanilla wafers, fig squares and maybe a waft of almond dust. And what is that vegetable smell? Fresh cut beets, but they’re far across the room.

The palate is not as airy and fresh as “fresh cut beets” might imply. Rather, it brings a stinging sparkle (should have added water?) and a very slight oily feel. The vanilla wafers have liquefied and the sweetness in not as thin – not as diet – as in the nose, unfolding in a small but determined wave of confectionary sugar that has a slight butterscotch or caramel shading to it. Are there flowers in the room? Perhaps, but, it so, they are far on the other side…

Beyond the slight vanilla-sugar sweetness and the alcohol burn, the finish has little to offer – it is, to my palate, the most disappointing aspect of this otherwise well-dressed and domesticated dram. Or is that lamb?

Or, to put it another way…

Auchentoshan Three Wood is a woman I am glad to have met, but whom I will be calling again only if I’m in need of some information I think she may have, or if I’m a bit lonely and looking for no more than a pleasant companion to walk with me through too-cultivated gardens.

Nothing wild or steamy or dreamy here, but sometimes a kiss on the cheek is very nice.

@markjedi1 - Thanks for your note. I am aware of the colossal differences between the Lowland and Campbeltown styles. I wouldn't compare Auchentoshan to Springbank anymore than I would compare butterflies to orangutans. But one does often see them clumped together in chapter headings and such. Makes no more sense than including the islands - Jura, Skye and such - in with the Highlands, but it's done all the time. That's what I meant by "if you don't count" in my review - which I now see is a bit confusing on this point. I hope this clears that up.

Nice review, @Pizaro! But never, ever count Springbank among Lowlands, please. It is a proud Campbeltowner and has nothing to do with Lowland, both nose- or tastewise. It is a completely different profile and hardly delicate like Auchentoshan.

M

One of the most excellent noses I've encountered. People who enjoy sherry cask matured aromas will love this. It is sweet, velvety and comforting. I could just nose this forever...

On the palate, this dram is incredibly smooth with a bit of spice thrown in. There is a presence of butterscotchy vanilla.... Simply delicious.

@SquidgyAsh

When we'd last left our heroes they'd just finished trying the Auchentoshan 12 and 18yr olds, part of a 3 part sampler pack purchased because our hero had needed sample bottles in order to send whisky to a friend of his in Queensland, Systemdown, and he'd heard great things about Auchentoshan from Markjedi.

So far our hero has not been disappointed in any way, enjoying the 12 yr old and LOVING the 18 yr old. Our heroes wife preferred the 12 yr old to the 18 yr.

Now the last sample in the pack was the Auchentoshan Three Wood. Our hero had heard some very good things about this whisky and was looking forward to it....Alot!

When he first cracked open the bottle and poured it's contents into the glencairn the first thing he notices is how dark the whisky is. It is DARK! Possibly caramel coloring? Or possibly the maturation in the three different types of wood casks? Not sure, but a mystery to be solved by Google! another time.

The nose is intriguing. First whiff is what I've come to associate as the Auchentoshan whiff, a hint of freshly cut grass, but then with the next whiff bourbon manifests itself while slowly after this the sherry casks make their presence known.

Our hero spends roughly an hour or so nosing his glencairn with just the occasional sip, trying to tear apart this whisky.

Finally our heroes wife asks him if he's having any problems. He informs her with great dignity that he is not, but that he is curious to see how the nose will develop if the whisky is left to open up.

At this point in time the aromas coming out of the whisky is just a hint of cut grass, oak, tiny bit of vanilla, some leather and a tiny bit of smoke in the background. Very intriguing nose.

Flavors at this time are sherry, caramel, cherries, some molasses and a tiny hidden bit of chocolate.

Finish is LONG! With a bite of alcohol and the spices and a hint of smoke following it down.

The hero covers the dram with a plate with the tiniest gap to let the whisky breath over night and comes back to it roughly 24 hours later.

When our hero comes back to the whisky he again gets bourbon and sherry on the nose with leather and vanilla, but now there is some slight citrus notes.

Flavors this evening are the same as before, but with the added development of butterscotch and a hint of sultanas.

Finish is again LONG, but now there is the faintest hint of apples on the tail end. Very yummy.

This was a bottle that our hero has decided that he needs to own due to the fact that he'd love to see how oxidation would affect this whisky and what would open up with time!

And the good news is that this bottle is readily available for roughly $70 AUS and can be found quite easily.

I, the hero, would like to thank both Markjedi and Systemdown for turning me onto this awesome distillery!!! I'm eager to explore it even more!

Slainte!!!

I'm also quite fond of this whisky, but the dark colour is indeed the result of (heavy) caramel colouring, alas.

That's what I was figuring, but I wasn't sure. A very interesting whisky and one on my to pick up list. Extremely interesting (for me) nose.

@vanPelt

Nose: Wood and leather at first, with floral sherry overtones; hazelnut and vanilla linger. Toffee comes out one the second breath.

Palate: Smooth and almost creamy entry, followed by a balanced wave of oak spices and sweetness. Velvety butterscotch/toffee and vanilla emerge, and then transition into floral hazelnut and orange zest.

Finish: A long sensation of buttery sweet nutmeg, with lingering floral notes.

I absolutely love this whiskey. It is certainly my favorite of the 3 Auchentoshans I have tried so far. It has the balance and complexity that I look for, and I find it hard to imagine asking for more from a lowland scotch. If I have to search for one complaint, there oak could be a tad strong, but then again this keeps it interesting. A lowland crowd-pleaser-- Perhaps it is even too good.

:) I've been wanting to try some Toshan's for months now!!! WEWT!!!!!

I loved this instantly when I tasted it not too long ago. Keen to try it again real soon under proper tasting conditions!

@MaltActivist

A relatively understated malt, this. Nice nose full of toffee, butterscotch and hints of vanilla. Some fruits in there some where. Palate was a similar undertaking though marginally inferior to the nose. A wisp of smoke made it's way towards the end. The finish was lacking making this an unremarkable dram.

Hi Wills. I've not really had a lot of Auchentoshans (just not a big fan of Lowland malts for some reason) but there are a couple worth trying. There's an 18 and a 21 yr expression of the Auchentoshan that are very nice.

I had them a while ago and couldn't review them but remember them being delicious.

Thx for the review. What do you recommend as an alternative? I was keeping an eye on this dram, but didnt taste it so far. And how would you compare this to other Auchentoshan? Greetings.

@talexander

I believe this is my first Auchentoshan review (though I have had 3 others in the past, I did not write about them). I know some who can't stand Auchentoshans, but I don't know why - I've found some interesting variety between the ones I've had - subtle but notable differences.

Auchentoshan is a triple distilled Scotch, which I suppose may be an Irish influence. The distillery was almost destroyed by the blitz during WWII, and in fact draws its cooling water from a pond in a giant bomb crater! This particular expression is matured in bourbon casks, and then finished in Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, and it shows - the deep reddish brown colour is one of the deepest I've seen in a whisky. However, I'm sure there is added colouring in here - I have a 16 year old Auchentoshan, matured in sherry casks, whose natural colour is close to a light reisling.

The nose is deep sherry, cherry, caramel, dates, molasses. Very rich and satisfying.

In the mouth, more sherry, mocha, stewed prunes, but also an herbal, oaky malt underneath which cuts through the sweetness nicely. Some citrus in the background. Water seems to do tame the sweetness but does little else.

The finish is shorter than you would think. Dark maple syrup and more pronounced oak linger in the background. I don't love this one but it makes for a good after-dinner dram. I don't tend to like sweetness in whisky but this one doesn't go so far as to turn me off. I prefer the 1999 Bordeaux cask expression (if you wanted something approaching the Three Wood), but my favourite is the aforementioned 16 year old (bottled by Dewar Rattray), which is very rare.

Great review. Especially liked the background infos and the comparisons to other Toshans. To the irish influence: I only know the Bushmills 16 Tripple Wood and I really like it. You can compare these too? Which would you prefer? Greetings to Canada!

I have a bottle of the Bushmills 16 but I haven't cracked it open yet! Waiting for the right occasion - maybe St. Paddy's Day 2013!

@DaveWorthington

My first Auchentoshan, but not my first Lowland whisky as I have previously sampled Edinburgh’s Glenkinchie 12 Year Old at the beginning of my journey (Whisky Discovery #3).

This is January 2012’s official addition, and recommended by our own @markjedi1, the Toshan Man himself, Mark Dermul (www.markdermul.be/toshanman/) who I have become acquainted on this site.

I was going to go for the Classic as listed in Ian Buxton’s book, but Mark steered me this way. I’m really pleased with his recommendation, but will be back for the Classic (and more) later !

Auchentoshan (ock-un-tosh-un) is, as I said earlier, a Lowland whisky and the distillery is located to the North West of Glasgow in Clydebank. With no age statement on this expression I wrote to Auchentoshan and asked what age whisky this was. They replied that this was a 12 year old whisky, matured for 10 years in bourbon casks then finished for one year in Oloroso Sherry and then one year in Pedro Ximenez Sherry.

Auchentoshan’s clean, complex character starts with malted optic barley. Only gently kilned, completely un-peated barley lets the Auchentoshan taste shine through. They grind the barley to suit their lauter tun. It’s vital to have evenly milled starch grits – this maximises the amount of starch that converts into sugars during mashing. The milled, malted barley and pure water is fed into their lauter tun, first of all at 63.5°C. The heat helps turn the starches into sugar. After two fillings it’s ready for fermentation – the third filling is used as the first water in the next mash.

Many distilleries prefer the consistency that comes with stainless steel washbacks, however, Auchentoshan use Oregon pine instead – so the results are always a little different each time, this also means that an especially keen eye on everything is needed. All this effort means a fresh-tasting, clear wort from the lauter tun.

Auchentoshan is the only distillery in Scotland to have a third still, truly triple distilling every single drop. Triple Distillation takes the fermented liquid from around 8% ABV (alcohol by volume) up to 81%. No other Scottish distillery insists on this for every drop – double distillation usually reaches just 70% ABV. Auchentoshan new spirit is the highest distillate of any single malt distillery in Scotland. They say that when you taste the new spirit, strong notes of fruit and citrus are revealed because they have distilled away all the impurities in the liquid. You can read much more about it on their superb website www.auchentoshan.com/triple-distillation-(our-way)/triple-distillation.aspx

So why triple distillation ? It’s more time consuming. It’s more expensive, and it’s also absolutely unique in Scotland – no other Single Malt Scotch Whisky goes beyond two distillations (unless of course you know otherwise!) The extra distillation takes the spirit to around 81% – not 70%. This dramatically affects the character of the new make spirit, helping to create a subtle whisky that matures beautifully in oak.

So what did I think ? Colour: A rich and deep amber from the Sherry, although reading the very small print on the bottom of the box I think this has been stabilised with caramel (it’s in German hidden under the bar code - but Google translate got me through it)

Body: Oily, rich, and smooth, legs slow to drain in my Glencairn

Nose: Just Delicious ! Rich and sweet, fruity, raisins, brown sugar, caramel toffee, slight butterscotch, even a slight marmalade scent

Palatte: Delicious ! Mellow and smooth almost creamy, the sherry comes across strong, but there is more underneath, the vanilla and oak coming through the sweet fruits

Finish: Delicious ! The finish is warming and very long, fresh and fruity. I always enjoy nosing my empty glass again after a minute or two, and this one is no exception, the final pleasure of whisky tasting, and was surprised getting some lavender at the very end.

Overall verdict: Loved it – A great discovery !

Mark has recommended I try the Valinch next – it’s on my wish list already !

@moy71

The first time I tried this Three Wood 2 weeks ago, I was a little underwhelmed so much so that I simply put the bottle aside thinking it wasn't for me.

Last night I thought I'd try it again. Boy am I glad I did. Big difference...

On the nose, I get wood/oak. Caramel (my son said it smells like candy), hints of leather & smoke, spice and of course sherry

Tastewise, I get an nice oily texture, leather, butterscotch or toffee, oak, sherry and a mild spice/cinnamon

The finish is dry, smoky and more hints of sherry which I really like.

Good man, @moy71, for giving this Toshan a second chance. One of my daily drams that I really enjoy.

J

Deep amber with some orange coloured lowlights. The nose is really quite lovely. Lots of woody barrel character along with a lot of vanilla and caramel character. Lightly floral with a little bit of soft caramel and a little bit of sherry. There is a light touch of orange peel along with a light kiss of sweet oak. There is a fairly pronounced bourbon-like sweetness that I really dig in this. The combination of oak and spice/floral character is really compelling. Top-notch really.

Nice one, Joe!

Spot on... pour another, sit back and chill, thats the "toshan" way...

@GlassBottle

Nose: sweet butterscotch and all sorts of warm, comforting aromas - fruity, slightly floral, hazelnuts.

Palate: still sweet and well-sherried. More hazelnuts and vanilla, citrus and cinnamon spice start coming through. An autumnal feel to this dram with a hint of flavour that reminded me of freshly fallen leaves.

Body: smooth and velvety.

Finish: strong and surprisingly long lasting for what is quite a delicate whisky. An oaky edge that compliments the other flavours wonderfully.

A "toshan" that stands alone, its so different to most toshans but is really gathering pace with whisky lovers, I am never without a bottle of this amber nector mmmmmm

@rwbenjey

Candied fruit and obvious sherry kick start the experience, followed by a hint of melon and syrup. After letting it open a little more, brown sugar joins the party with some spice that I can't recall.

For me, the palate is quite different. Dry sherry, salt, oak. The finish is dry and salty as well. Interesting, but kind of a let down given the nose. It's a good example of a sherried scotch, but quite dry.

T

This has become one of my favorites, with a smooth a solid flavour with the subtle taste of the sherry without the sweetness. Goes well with olives.

@markjedi1

This is the fifth Toshan I’ve tried so far and again it is bulls-eye!

This Three Wood – like the name says – was matured in three types of casks : first American oak bourbon casks, then Spanish oloroso and finally Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. It’s no surprise that this dram is dominated by sherry notes.

The whisky is a dark shade of old gold, almost copper, with a high viscosity. Amazing legs. It has an ABV of 43%, mind you.

The nose is sweet and warm, like most Auchentoshans in my opinion, with raisins, dades and a lot of sherry. After leaving it in the glass to settle down for a minute or two, I also sensed orange peel, toffee, a pinch of tobacco and even brown sugar. This is a very interesting nose, with lots going on at the same time. Eye opener.

The first sip is somewhat syrupy, but in a positive sense. The soft sherry notes come out first – very much in the foreground – but are soon accompanied by almonds and dark fruits. Lovely.

It’s almost as good as the 12 Year Old (although that is an altogether different whisky), much better than the 10 Year Old, the Classic and the Select. According to Jim Murray’s 2010 Whisky Bible, this dram is very unbalanced and thus only deserves a 74. But to me, the roughness was a bonus and came out pretty well. But that’s just me – and I do have a soft spot for my Toshans, I admit.

The finish is very, very long, fresh and fruity, but a bit dry at the death. Even a little bit bourbon-like, which surprised me somewhat. I recommend smelling your empty glass again after a minute or two. Nice!

After the 12 Year Old, this is my favourite Toshan so far!

If you know that this bottle can be purchased for less than 50 EUR, you simply have to add it to your cabinet, no?

I’ll soon be trying the 18 Year Old, which has been eyeballing me from the shelf for some time now. And while I’m already saving up for the 21 Year Old to complete the regular Toshan range, I’m happy to say that my wife bought me the wonderful 1988 Bordeaux Finish last night. It’s currently on it’s way from Glasgow and I hope it arrives here soon… in one piece.

@SvenFonteyn

Like all lowland whiskies this one is fresh and fruity. It has a nice flavour but is not the best of the lowlands. Bladnoch and rosebank are better but more expensive.

@WhiskyNotes

Nose: it’s possible to distinguish the different casks. There is clear sherry influence with notes of raisins, plums, dates and oranges. Bourbon associations as well. Some vanilla, apricot, apple and cinnamon. Toffee. Tobacco. In a way, it’s interesting to have the different influences, but on the other hand, it doesn’t work together as a whole. Too much oak to be refined. Mouth: sweet, lots of toffee and chocolate. Caramel and nuts. Quite “dark” with some burnt sugar and even some rubber (although it’s not unpleasant). Liquorice as well. The finish shows some bourbon-type flavours: cedar and pine wood, mint and spices. With water: lemon grass. Quite dry.

Interesting how so many sherry-heavy whiskies have that rubber taste. I didn't notice it in Three Wood but I find it in many others: a'bunadh, Glenfarclas 15, Macallan Cask Strength, Springbank 12, among others.

@Leischa

Bought a bottle of this at the distillery last week, and really enjoying it. It has the warm sweetness of all Auchentoshans, but the sherry note is very pronounced and gives the whisky a depth and complexity that the 12 year old doesn't have.

@neobliviscaris

I'm generally not a fan of the sherry woods, but this one gets it right. Matured in three different types of casks, they strike a good balance. This is what I like to pour for people who claim they don't like scotch. Even the most skeptical ladies end up liking it most of the time.

ah darn it, I forgot to log in before posting that

I've taken care of that. Nice review.

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