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Auchentoshan Classic Single Malt Whisky

Review: Auchentoshan Classic Single Malt Whisky  85.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted on February 17, 2013

I recently attending a Bowmore Luncheon and Tasting sponsored by Lifford Wines and led by none other than Bowmore Morrison – Master Of Malts, Ian Macallum. One of the whiskies which I was able to taste was the Auchentoshan Classic Single Malt. Based upon my impressions at the tasting, and a few sampling sessions with a provided sample, I was able to produce this review. The Auchentoshan Classic Single Malt Whisky is part of the core range of Auchentoshan Single Malts. It is (of course) a triple distilled whisky which has been produced from stocks matured solely in American bourbon casks, and then bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

I should note that Lifford Wines are the local importer (in Alberta) and distributor of Morrison Bowmore Products. (The Auchentoshan Distillery and its brands are owned by Morrison Bowmore.)

A Note about the Distillery:

The Auchentoshan Distillery (pronounced “OCK-un-tosh-un”, and meaning “corner of the field”) is located on the outskirts of Glasgow, and is somewhat of an anomaly amongst Scottish Distillers. It is the only Scottish Distillery that triple distills their entire core range of whisky. Triple distillation is common amongst Irish distillers, but very uncommon for a distillery producing Single Malt Whisky. The result of triple distillation is a more laid back easy-going style of whisky which perhaps carries more floral elements, but which also may be a little less robust in character than traditional single malts. As such, the Auchentoshan Whisky may be more approachable for novice Single Malt Whisky enthusiast.

Auchentoshan ClassicIn the Bottle: 4/5

The Auchentoshan Classic Single Malt whisky arrives in a nice grey display box which protects the spirit from light, and looks rather nice on my bar shelf. The bottle is oval shaped with a label that is smart and crisp although not eye-popping. I think the look the distillery is trying to convey would be unpretentious but professional.

In the Glass 8.5/10

The Auchentoshan Classic has a medium pale straw colour . When I tilt and swirl the whisky only a light sheen is left on the inside of the glass indicating a light bodied whisky. When I raise the glass to my nose, I receive delicate scents of honey and butterscotch intermingling with notes of ripening cereal grain.

As the glass breathes I also notice fall scents of fresh-cut sawgrass and timothy hay, as well as a willow thicket somewhere in the background. There are light wood spices, a touch of almond, and a light floral essence which makes me think of lavender flowers and clumps of heather.

Although the nose is light, I definitely enjoy the aroma.

In the Mouth 52/60

Sipping on the Auchentoshan Classic is quite nice. The whisky is light and easy-going. There are firm cereal grain flavours with welcome hints of honey and lightly sweet butterscotch. Some grassy flavours lie under the butterscotch and honey which remind me of ripened timothy (also known as meadow cat’s-tail) and dry saw grass. Within these grassy flavours is a light herbal component reminiscent of heather and willow thicket. (Like all kids growing up on a farm, I would occasionally chew on long strands of grass in the fields when I was a youngster, and those childhood memories are very strong .)

I added a little water and the whisky became slightly creamy and I noticed a few citrus flavours I hadn’t before (lemon peel mainly) with also a touch of marzipan and vanilla. The flavour in the mouth agrees with the impression on the nose. This is easy-going, and enjoyable.

In the Throat 12/15

The exit is crisp and relatively smooth with fading flavours of vanilla ice cream and just a touch of briny sea water. The only detraction is a very light soapy taste that arrives at the very back of the palate (Some days I notice it, and some days I do not). Wood spices linger the longest, heating the palate gently.

The Afterburn 9/10

What a nice enjoyable whisky, perfect for the days when you just want to sit back and enjoy a dram without wrestling with the experience. The flavour features ripening grain fields, fresh cut autumn hay, and just the right amount of honey and butterscotch. It is not assertive or complex, rather it is an unassuming pleasure which I am sure to repeat.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipe

The Auchentoshan Distillery Website has a few recipes which are recommended for their Classic Single Malt Whisky. The Classic with Soda (with a wedge of lime) seemed to me to be about perfect for this Single Malt.

classic and sodaClassic with Soda
(recipe and photo courtesy Morrison Bowmore)

1 1/2 oz Auchentoshan Classic
Crushed ice
Wedge of Fresh Lime
Soda water (Q-Club works well)
Crushed Ice

Fill a glass tumbler with crushed ice
Add Auchentoshan Classic
Rim the glass with a lime wedge
Complete with Soda
Add the Lime Wedge to the Glass



I am always asked what my numbers actually mean. In order to provide clarification, you may (loosely) interpret the scores as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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