Review : Auchentoshan Springwood Single Malt

Distillers and distilleries alike have had their fair share of bankruptcies, sell offs, acquisitions and buy outs; and though not many, several of them have stood through the sands of time – Auchentoshan (pronounced Ock-un-tosh-un) being one such example. The distillery was set up in 1823 by John Bullock, a local merchant. Five years past and bankrupt, he handed over the keys to his son, who in turn sold it off to John Hart, Bullock’s distiller and Alexander Filshie, a local farmer, a year later for lack of sufficient funding. One of the deeds in the contract was that the new owners allowed John Bullock to live within the distillery for the rest of his life; and live he did until he was a hearty eighty seven. The Filshie’s retained ownership for over 44 years before a bad disastrous harvest forced them to sell it off in 1877. Many transitions, a cease in production during World War II and a few more change of hands – 2014, Suntory and Beam merged and acquired Auchentoshan.

[*Before we begin…a hearty thanks to my cuz, Jerry C for hooking me up with this bottle and getting me kick started with my December winter review…*]

The Auchentoshan  distillery is housed in the lowlands, and is one of the very few operating in the region. It is also possibly the only operational lowland whisky-house that triple distils all its whisky, a process practised commonly in Ireland, though not so much with the Scots.

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Triple distillation essentially produces a lighter and fruitier spirit, thanks to the increased contact with the copper stills removing much of the unwanted, heavy sulphur containing compounds. This intermediate still also introduces higher ABVs – up-to 81%, a tad higher than the 70 something when distillers double distil the spirit. A trade-off however, is the stronger alcohol now has fewer congeners and therefore a much lighter profile. Some enthusiasts attribute the lack of bold, intricate and complicated flavors to this added third distillation.

The Springwood is part of a travel retail range that was introduced early in 2012, each of which were aptly named to celebrate wood and its contribution to whisky. The three other Core expressions that make this array are the Heartwood, Silverwood and finally the Solera.

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This NAS (No Age Statement) whisky is part American a.k.a matured in All American Ex-Bourbon casks, for what can only be assumed for a sure minimum of three years. And from the colour, the water like texture and the long streams along the glass walls, I figure it to be quite amateurish- on the younger side of the spectrum.

ABV: 40%

Eye: Pale Yellow Gold

Nose: Sweet Vanilla with some light barley and malt. Woody and phenolic with hints of wet ash, leather and a few drops of lemon grass.

Taste: Light, crisp and tangy. Some lemon, white wine and green moss.

Finish: Honey sweet, with a short finish.

The Springwood certainly mirrors the effects of triple distillation – light, crisp and somewhat refreshing. I use the term ‘somewhat’ as the presence of the phenolic woody profile at the mid-section of the palate, becomes all the more omnipresent with the faint and subtle nature of the spirit. There is some resemblance to Jameson’s entry level whiskey albeit a flatter tongue- an outcome of its relatively young age.

This Auchentoshan is a decent single malt scotch considering its dollar value – a pick for those warm, sunny seasons when all you really want is to spend time with family and friends and not worry too much about what you are sipping. I figure this could be great for cocktails and for those who wish to venture into the world of single malt whiskies. But might not successfully convert those who’ve gotten used to its double distilled peers.

Slainte!

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