The Auchentoshan distillery can be found nestled on the outskirts of Glasgow, at the foot of the Kilpatrick Hills and in the shadow of the Erskine Bridge. Founded in 1823, Auchentoshan is Gaelic for “ the corner of the field “ and has a small pond lying in front that was created by a bomb that was dropped during the war that almost destroyed the distillery.
Over the years the distillery has gained a reputation for its light flavours and floral aromas along with some very good single casks. As one of my favourite distilleries I have had the pleasure of quite a few very good expressions and have also seen the trend for Whisky intended for the bars and cocktails seemingly taking a preference in the modern line up.
There is an amount of very good sherry casks and aging bourbon casks hidden away in the warehouses but it seems fewer are seeming the light of day these days, whilst the independent bottlers do seem to be releasing a good few re fill bourbon casks there does seem to be a lack of good aged sherry cask releases, the Distillery did release a few and although the 1979, 32yo release is certainly one of the very best ( if not the best) release the distillery has made ( ok not a single cask ) until recently when at last the distillery started down the bottle your own route and seemingly sway towards the sherry casks and red wine cask route.
A few weeks ago I had contact with Claxton’s independent bottlers, an indication that they might be releasing a single cask toshan with a little age and from a sherry cask has me foaming at the mouth.. Could it, would it happen and what age would this be ? I had to find out more.
After meeting with Adrian at the Claxtons offices ( local to me so it would be rude not to pop in every now and again and again and again ) where over a cup of coffee and yes a few wee sips of whisky a little more info was gathered and a very generous sample was obtained and of course the promise of a bottle order to be placed once available.. What I learned about this Auchentoshan 26 yo release is this is from a refil ( 2nd fill) sherry hogsgead, distilled in 1991 with as yet an unofficial abv of 52% ( actually 54.1% ) This will also be NCF and as all releases from Claxtons this will be totally natural colour.
Nose.. Raisins, dates, figs and plums. Demerara sugar with dark chocolate with a citrus twist, sticky toffee pudding covered in the richest of toffee sauces, espresso coffee, roasted almonds, stewed apples and a hint of marzipan all mingle with old leather and tobacco.
Palate.. Oak and exotic spices lead the way before those dried fruits explode and coat your senses, chocolate comes back into play with a touch of Manuka honey, coffee.
Finish.. Lingering spices and old oak.
Thoughts.. This Auchentoshan 26yo for me represents a delicious, light, floral whisky with delicate flavours and aromas that just always seem to put a smile on my face but with the introduction of these sherry casks the whisky has been given an extra depth that also brings a more complex and bolder flavour profile.
This 26yo from Claxtons is not one of the massive sherry bombs that is totally sherry oriented but rather a beautifully balanced whisky that incredibly stills allows everything good about the distillery profile to shine through. The cask has done exactly what you would hope for and yet still allows you to remember those stunning expressions that made me fall in love with the distillery in the first place.
Auchentoshan 26 yo, 1991 from Claxtons..
Thank you Claxtons for bringing back the essence of Auchentoshan….
For more information about Claxtons please visit the official website here..