Tag Archives: Auchentoshan

Auchentoshan 2000 Single Cask #1757 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)

So, I was just up to the city for yet another of my son’s spring hockey games and, on the way home, we happened to stop for a bite right beside a big new bottle shop… What a coincidence! Well, with yet another graduate course recently put in the rear view, I figured I deserved to whip in and see if there were any treasures to be uncovered. I’m not sure if it’s a treasure or not, but I did find an independent bottling of Auchentoshan, a distillery I quite enjoy. This whisky was bottled in 2014 by Berry Bros. & Rudd, from Auchentoshan cask #1757, which was laid down in the year 2000, making it a 13 yr old expression. There was no carton for this bottle but the rear label explains that this bottling was produced exclusively for the North American market. This whisky is 53.6% abv and costs about $95 CDN. 

To the Eye

Pale, straw-gold in colour. A twist of my Glencairn builds a crest that reluctantly releases fat, exceedingly stubborn legs. 

In the Nose

Apples, which are always front and centre for me, when nosing an Auchentoshan. But, on this dram, these apples seem decidedly more crisp and tart, more like a green Granny Smith than the usual sweet, ripe reds I tend to pick up from this distillery. Werther’s Original caramels, vanilla and cotton candy are also quite assertive. With time, more subtle aromas also join the party: malt, leather and a dry grassy note. 

On the Tongue

Whoa! This whisky is much richer and more potent than the typical core expressions from Auchentoshan – I guess an extra 13-14% abv will help with that! The mouthfeel is much thicker and creamier, as well. Flavours of juicy fruits, particularly stone fruit preserves jump out at me, along with Cuban honey (if you’ve had it, you understand the difference), sweet malted grain and real black licorice flavour. There is herbal, citrusy note that arrives toward the end… not exactly understated but a bit more like a lime-basil than like the actual citrus fruit. Either way, the tang is a welcome counterpoint to the sweet flavours at the onset. There is a satisfying alcohol burn in this dram, which creates a tingling, effervescent finish of medium length, full with pineapple, more licorice and a hint of barrel wood… this may sound unusual, but the finish is a little reminiscent of drinking a nice Chardonnay. 

Final Thoughts

I’m impressed! I’ve long appreciated Auchentoshan whiskies and this is a very good one. I have not gotten in to many independent bottlings but this single cask offering by Berry Bros. & Rudd has me thinking I’ve ignored this category of whisky for long enough. It’s rich, sophisticated and well-composed! Complex, yet smooth, but still providing a nice burn. Delicious and highly recommended – if this was a more readily available dram, I would consider labelling it as a new favourite!

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Auchentoshan 12 Year Old

Auchentoshan is the only Lowland malt I have so far had the opportunity to try, but I will admit to being a bit of a fan. I don’t remember when I bought my first Bottle, but I’m sure it has since crept into my personal top 3-5 of most frequently purchased malts. I find this realization surprising (and a bit confusing) since I probably wouldn’t name it among my favourite drams.

Auchentoshan claims to be the only Scotch distillery that employs a triple distillation process. Triple distillation is common amongst Irish whiskies but it is apparently unique amongst Scotch whiskies, where double distillation is the norm.  The distillery would have us believe that this extended process results in a smoother whisky with a more complex profile. Auchentoshan 12 Year Old is a single malt bottled at 40% abv and is available in my market for approximately $45 per bottle.

To the Eye

This whisky displays as a bright honeyed-copper with flashes of orange. After a spin of my Glencairn, it took some serious patience to wait for the moderate legs to release and trickle extremely slowly down the glass.

In the Nose

Apples, first and foremost. Ripe red ones!  I’m not sure I’ve encountered a dram that so clearly exhibited a specific fruit on the first sniff. Further exploration reveals kiwi fruit and grapes – Oloroso sherry casks, of course!  There are gentle citrus notes and vanilla, evoking a hint of a orange soda and ice cream float. More patience allows bits of leather and peppercorns to join the party and a slightly smokey, salty aroma as well. For whatever reason, I’m also thinking of sesame snaps. I can’t believe how much I have written here since I wouldn’t have labelled the nose of Auchentoshan 12 as “complex” but, obviously, I’m glad I took the time to find out what was hiding behind those apples!

On the Tongue

Not nearly as sweet as the nose suggests. Grapefruit pith and freshly shelled walnuts – you know that slightly bitter walnut skin you sometimes get a little bit of? There is a surprisingly assertive oakiness, considering that it was not more prominent on the nose. There’s also sponge toffee, as well as a little bit of black pepper in there.  Again, not overly complex, but neither is this whisky a one note wonder. The finish is relatively short, as far as flavour is concerned, although a hint of pencil shavings lingers along with that walnut bitterness.  I do like it… quite a bit, actually!

Final Thoughts

Auchentoshan 12 is somewhat of an enigma for me. I can’t bring myself to name it a favourite, but there is definitely a reason why I almost always have a bottle of it in my cupboard.  I think it’s kind of a Darcy Tucker of whisky! (You will probably have to be a Maple Leafs hockey fan of a certain age to properly appreciate this comparison!)

To clarify, this whisky may not necessarily stand out as exceptional in any particular way, but it is so darn solid in every way that it endears itself and deserves respect and appreciation!  At the very least, I think you find this dram to be smooth and easy drinking – approachable for the newbie Scotch drinker but with enough to offer that more sophisticated palates will still appreciate it.