After a short break for the daily articles about drams from the advent calendar, we’re back today with another distillery there was nothing written about on those pages: Auchentoshan. I must admit Auchentoshan it a distillery that was quite under my radar, even though I have a couple bottles from them at home. I haven’t tried many drams coming from them, the only ones that come to mind are the American Oak, an entry-level NAS, and the 21-years-old, a bottle my parents brought back from the distillery with a handfill I have yet to open. Now while, in my opinion, Auchentoshan flies a bit under the radar of many whisky drinkers, it has something setting them apart in Scotland (with just a very few other distilleries doing – partially – the same thing): they use triple distillation. While this is quite often seen at Irish distilleries, this stays an exception in Scotland and other countries, as I’ve told you in my Armut Triparva review a few days ago. So today, we’re having (well, I am) an Auchentoshan 2000 Signatory Vintage 20 rue d’Anjou.
The distillery sits on the outskirts of Clydebank, near Glasgow. While it was officially founded in 1823, its history can be traced back to 1817 as on what was probably the same site, a distillery by the name of Duntocher was mentioned for producing single malt whisky in 1817. This is, however, subject to dispute, to don’t trust me too much on that. While it was founded by John Bullock, it was bought by Alexander Filshie in the same year. As many distilleries, it changed hands several times and encountered hardships. In 1941, it was severely damaged after a bombing by a German plane, the trace of that bombing being still noticeable today as the crater made by the bomb blast is now a pond just by the warehouses.
As I said above, Auchentoshan practices triple distillation, which is unusual in Scotland, but goes quite well with the “Lowland” style in whisky production as triple distillation is believed to produce a lighter and more floral and sweeter style of whisky. They also don’t use peat. Now, time to see if this Auchentoshan we’re trying today will be light, floral and fruity.
Auchentoshan 2000 Signatory Vintage 20 rue d’Anjou
This Auchentoshan was distilled on February 7, 2000 and filled into a bourbon barrel #800037. Then, it was bottled 20 years later, on September 29, 2020, giving an outturn of 179 bottles at 59% abv. It was bottled for La Maison Du Whisky under the 20 rue d’Anjou series, this being the address in Paris of the first La Maison Du Whisky shop, opened in 1968. This whisky is non-chill filtered and with its natural colour, and you can still buy some from LMDW for 195€.
The nose is initially fruity and floral. Pear, mango, pineapple and plum intertwine with flowers like iris and geranium. Vanilla, almonds and nuts dipped in honey. Fresh linen and bandages.
With water, there’s a minerality that appears but I didn’t get many other differences.
The palate starts fruity then quickly becomes spicy and lively. Citrus notes of lemon and grapefruit are quickly joined by pepper, cumin and ginger. The mouthfeel is creamy and the liquid coats the tongue. There’s a bitterness from the lemon but also from oak, and some nuttiness, with walnuts and hazelnuts. Then malt notes appear as well as other fruits: pineapple and apple.
Reduction didn’t change it much on the palate either, maybe a few more drops of lemon juice and a wee bit more oak.
Nutty and with a bit of wood spices, honey covered malt and minty vanilla, with a good length. Maybe some chocolate behind the oak.
I must admit that since my previous experiences with Auchentoshan were far from astounding, I wasn’t expecting much from this. And boy was I wrong. This whisky is fruity and floral as you’d expect from a Lowland, but not that light. It’s packed with flavours and aromas, it’s more than just a couple fruits and a flower mixed together. It has personality, it’s lively, the alcohol is well integrated as well, it doesn’t require water in my opinion. There’s nothing like natural presentation and a good bourbon cask to show the true value of a whisky, and I’ll be putting those single casks ‘toshan on my radar from now. I can understand now why Sorren @ocdwhisky is a fan, if there are more like this one.