Bought: Amazon, 12th March 2016
91.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2017
79.14/100 – Whiskybase (average from 111 member votes)
I must admit I tend to think of Auchentoshan whisky as being in the same bracket as Jura, Fettercairn and Speyburn in terms of quality. This might seem unfair until you look at the entry-level single malts each distillery produce and they get similar ratings online. One reviewer on Whiskybase for the Auchentoshan 12yo even says “very similar to Jura 10”. Other comments for the Auchentoshan 12yo include “Approachable”, “Enjoyable dram” and “worth spending some time otherwise will completely pass you by”. It’s this last remark that’s important because Ralfy (of www.ralfy.com) says in his YouTube review in 2009 to give this dram 15 minutes to open up. This allows the whisky to get over the E150 obstacle and let out its freshness and summery citrus notes.
One person who certainly enjoys the Auchentonshan 12yo is Jim Murray. Scoring 91.5/100 in his Whisky Bible classifies this Lowland single malt as “brilliant”. He says about the taste “oily and buttery; intense barley carrying delicate marzipan and vanilla” and concludes with “a delicious malt very much happier with itself than it has been for a while”.
Having tried the Auchentoshan 12yo I certainly enjoyed it but it doesn’t hold a candle to the Highland Park 12yo, which is cheaper, nor the Talisker 10yo, which is significantly more complex and rewarding. But every whisky enthusiast will at some time want to try an example from the Scottish Lowlands and the Auchentoshan 12yo is very approachable and pleasant.
Here’s Horst Luening of Whisky.com with his thoughts about the Auchentoshan 12yo on YouTube (July 2016):
Bought – Morrisons, 16th October 2014
85.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2015
81/100 – Mark Dermul, YouTube Review (May 2014)
Recently I posted about the new Ardmore Legacy replacing the (arguably) better Traditional Cask. We now have the Auchentoshan ‘American Oak’ replacing the ‘Classic’. Thankfully it would seem Auchentoshan have got it right and this new release is an improvement on the old Classic. To be fair, it wouldn’t take much. The Classic wasn’t bad, just not exactly good either. A score in the 70s out of 100 was all it was worth.
Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible 2015 doesn’t have much to say about the American Oak but 85.5/100 classifies it as “very good to excellent whisky definitely worth buying”. He summaries with “quite creamy with some toasted honeycomb making a cameo appearance”.
It wouldn’t be right to discuss Auchentoshan without mentioning the Toshman, Mark Dermul. If anyone knows Auchentoshan it’s Mark, so I watched his YouTube review with interest. He agrees with Mr Murray that the American Oak is an improvement on the Classic. I got Mark’s rating of 81/100 from Whiskybase where the average score to date is 73.2/100 from 7 reviews. Not exactly great. Perhaps Auchentoshan is more of an acquired taste, being one of the rare Lowland spirits.
Bought – Tesco, 16th September 2013
80/100 – Whisky Bible 2013
Of all the Auchentoshan varieties you can buy I was delighted to find that the ‘Classic’ was the one recommended in the book ‘101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die’. The reason I was so happy was because this bottle is readily available in supermarkets. No need to order it online and pay £5+ in postage.
One of Auchentoshan’s claims to fame is that it’s one of the few Scottish single malts to be triple distilled. For years my father has been singing the praises of triple distilled vodka, claiming that this extra level of purity ensures he never has a hangover. I’ll be interested to see how clear my head is after sipping my way through a glass or two of this ‘Classic’.
A final word about Auchentoshan – I LOVE the name! It sounds like someone came up with ‘Auch-en-tosh-an!’ after a highland coo stood on their foot. But yet it’s much more romantic than a swear word. It would be great for a castle, or even a surname – James Alexander Auchentoshan. Lord Auchentoshan of the Glen. I might have to change my name! I’m sure after a few drinks it will seem like a great idea.