Is Auchentoshan a highland?

Answered by Nicholas Phillips

Auchentoshan is actually not a Highland whisky, but rather a Lowland Single . The distillery is located just outside of Glasgow, in the western region of Scotland. The Lowland region is known for producing lighter, more delicate whiskies compared to the rich and robust styles often associated with the Highland region.

One of the key factors that sets Auchentoshan apart as a Lowland Single Malt is its triple distillation process. Unlike many other whiskies which are distilled twice, Auchentoshan goes through a third distillation. This extra distillation helps to create a smoother and more refined spirit, with less of the heavy, oily characteristics often found in whiskies from other regions.

The use of this triple distillation process also allows Auchentoshan to showcase the true character of its malted barley. By removing more impurities and focusing on the pure flavors of the grain, Auchentoshan is able to highlight the delicate and complex nuances of its whisky.

In addition to its triple distillation, Auchentoshan also has a unique approach to cask maturation. The distillery predominantly uses ex- for aging its whisky, which impart a distinct sweetness and vanilla notes to the final product. However, Auchentoshan also experiments with other cask types, such as and casks, to add further layers of flavor and complexity to their expressions.

Auchentoshan offers a range of whiskies with different ages and flavor profiles to cater to various preferences. The core range includes the flagship Auchentoshan American Oak, aged in ex-bourbon barrels and characterized by its smooth, citrusy notes. The Auchentoshan 12 Year Old offers a slightly more matured expression with additional depth and complexity, while the Auchentoshan Three Wood is aged in a combination of bourbon, Oloroso sherry, and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, resulting in a rich and indulgent whisky.

In recent years, Auchentoshan has also released limited edition expressions and special cask finishes, showcasing their experimentation and innovation in whisky production. These releases provide whisky enthusiasts with the opportunity to explore unique and unusual flavors within the Auchentoshan range.

As a sommelier and brewer, I have had the pleasure of tasting Auchentoshan whiskies on multiple occasions. One particular experience that stands out is when I had the opportunity to try the Auchentoshan Three Wood. The combination of the bourbon, Oloroso sherry, and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks created a beautifully layered whisky with notes of dark chocolate, dried fruits, and a hint of spice. The smoothness and complexity of the whisky were truly impressive and showcased the craftsmanship of Auchentoshan.

Auchentoshan's triple distillation process, focus on barley flavor, unique cask maturation techniques, and range of expressions all contribute to its distinct identity as a Lowland Single Malt whisky. Whether you're a whisky enthusiast looking for a lighter and more delicate style of Scotch, or simply curious to explore the nuances of Lowland whisky, Auchentoshan is definitely worth exploring.