[Review] Auchentoshan - Three Wood 43%

The dram I am going to review today is courtesy of my friend Stuart who went for a weekend in Glasgow a few weeks ago, visited the Auchentoshan distillery and brought their Three Wood back. Thankfully for me, he saved me the last couple of drams from the bottle and here it is. 
Auchentoshan is a Lowland distillery which triple distills all of its spirit for "smooth, complex flavours to develop as the spirit matures in fine oak casks" as stated on the packaging. Most single malts are only double distilled and deciding whether double is better than triple is like most things about whisky, down to personal taste. From what I gathered, triple distillation tends to remove the more oily flavours thus making for a lighter whisky.
Auchentoshan is not one of the most know distillery and I had never heard of it prior to getting properly into whisky. In the UK, their entry level Non Age Statement (NAS) American Oak is widely available, the Three Wood is not as available and I haven't come across any other bottles from the distillery outside of specialist shops. I did have a quick taste of the Three Wood a few months ago at the Briton's Protection pub in Manchester (great selection of whiskies there by the way!) and also tried the 18 at the Whisky Shop with was very smooth and almondy. So I have been very much looking forward to spending a bit longer with some Three Wood.

Why Three Wood? Simply because after having been distilled, the spirit was first matured in North American oak, before being transferred to nutty Oloroso sherry casks and finally into sweet Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. In the glass, the Three Wood is dark amber, it has been chill filtered and colouring has been added to it too. It is bottled at 43%.

Nose: Sweet and fruity. To me the main note is blood orange, with some passion fruit, brown sugar, sherry and some incense. It becomes even sweet after a few minutes in the glass.

Palate: Warm, fruity and sweet, rather rich, still some orange, some nuttiness, hints of almond, raisin even some oaky cognac notes

Finish: Still sweet and fruity, some cinnamon, sherry notes too. I don't find the finish overly long.

With water: More sugar than blood orange and strangely more alcohol on the nose. I only added a few drops of water but this single malt isn't as pleasant. Again losing the flavours on the palate and finish. For me, it would have to be without water on this one! It feels as if the water ruined the balance of the whisky...

A very pleasant dram, fruity, nutty and sweet, rather smooth and easy drinking, just don't add water!
I would now like to try something cask-strength from Auchentoshan like one of their Valinch releases.

Thanks again Stuart, for this treat!



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