Review: Auchentoshan Classic, 12 Years Old, and Three Wood
The company (a lowland distillery) also makes some fine whisky to match its name. We recently got a hand on three of its more widely available expressions. Comments on each follow.
Auchentoshan Classic is the company’s entry-level whisky, a straightforward introduction to the house style, matured exclusively in bourbon casks and bottled with no age statement. On the thin side, this 80-proof whisky offers only modest character on the nose but opens up on the palate, giving off interesting coconut notes tinged with a bit of (not peat) smoke. The finish is on the watery side, not a lot to it, but quite smooth and easygoing. A great starter Scotch. B / $30
Auchentoshan 12 Years Old is slightly darker in color, aged (obviously) for 12 years in oak. Wood is stronger on the nose here, and nuts are big on the palate. Pistachio, almond, walnut — not so much smoky but straight up wood-infused. It’s lightly bitter but with a big sweetness in there too. Quite light in body for a 12-year whisky, it is somewhat less smooth than the Classic but offers more complexity. A good choice depending on your mood. 80 proof. B- / $35
Auchentoshan Three Wood is not a golf club but a quite dark whisky aged in bourbon barrels then finished in both oloroso and Ximinez sherry casks, but offers no age statement on how long it spends in those barrels. At 86 proof it’s a touch hotter than its little brothers, and more of a challenge than its little siblings, with a big slug of wood right up front. Huge caramel follows the wood, with an herbal, rosemary-like finish. There’s a bit, but less, sherry character here than I’d have thought, which is kind of unfortunate since sherry finishes always intrigue me. Still, an admirable whisky that most Scotch aficionados will enjoy. B+ / $60 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]