Boy oh boy, the holidays can sure be a major distraction or a welcome change of pace from the everyday humdrum routines. I think it just might be a combination of both, a bit of Yuletide Yin and Yang if you will. I get so busy with decorating and cooking and buying and wrapping presents and visiting with friends, I almost forget to drink regularly, and for a guy in the business of drinking regularly, that’s a major distraction. On top of that, it’s really hard to evaluate a spirit much less even be able to think straight when you’re surrounded by hyper active over sugared children and falling down drunk relatives who believe everything tastes absolutely wonderful and world peace will start at the end of this week and the second coming of Jesus will take place next week Tuesday at sunrise.

Well, anyway: Ho, Ho, Ho, full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes, muzzle the kids, throw the relatives out the front door, and let’s sit down and drink some Scotch before the next wave of Christmas craziness assails us.

Every time I hear the word Auchentoshan, I automatically want to blurt out Gesundheidt, but then that’s just me! Actually, the good folks at Auchentoshan have been making Scotch their own unique way since the mid 1800’s. By unique, I mean they don’t peat smoke their barley like everyone else, and they are the only ones to triple distill their scotch. In addition, they not only use bourbon casks to mature their scotch, they also use Oloroso Sherry casks and Pedro Ximenez casks. It all sounds pretty darn intriguing, but the proof is in the tasting, so let’s get down to it.


First up is the Auchentoshan American Oak Scotch. It is a very, very pale yellow golden color. The nose lacks the usual scotch smokiness, since the barley wasn’t smoked with peat during fermentation, leaving a clean, sharp nose consisting mostly of vanilla, oak, a hint of bourbon and citrus. All in all, it’s quite inviting. On the palate, the oak steps forward, followed by the vanilla and citrus, while maintaining a fresh and crisp barley and crème brulee flavor that hints at aging without getting overly complicated. The finish is smooth and short and sweet leaving a very clean palate. This is a sipper that could be enjoyed all year round thanks to its delightful crispness. And I must admit, I don’t miss the smoky peat flavor at all.

Next up is the Auchentoshan Three Wood Scotch – so named as it is matured first in American Bourbon casks and then Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks and finally Pedro Ximinex Sherry casks. This ought to be interesting. The color is a rich bourbon hue of golden brown. The nose is fruity with raisin, raspberry, orange, and sugar forward, backed by a sweet oakiness. On the palate, the woodsy oak flavors come forward, followed by the sweetness of the bourbon and sherry and then followed by the fruit and ending in a very definite and sweet scotch taste. The finish is smooth and long leaving a sweet oaky scotch flavor that is very crisp and clean. This one is certainly more complex than the first but not overly complicated either. It is crisp and clean and easy on both the nose and tongue and throat – definitely another year round sipper.


These Auchentoshan scotches should become part of your collection if they are not already. Put them up there next to your smoky, peaty, salty, chocolaty, complex scotches and you’ll be delighted in the difference. Auchentoshan American Oak 750ml bottles are $39.99. Auchentoshan Three Wood single malt scotch is available at $64.99 per 50ml bottle.

By George Brozowski