Auchentoshan 21


Located on the outskirts of Clydebank, Glasgow just beside the Kilpatrick hills, the Auchentoshan distillery sits nestled on the edge of a housing estate and besides a busy main road. Take a look about and you see the rolling hills, headstones in a nearby cemetery and the mighty Erskine Bridge, so just a typical distillery it would seem..

The distillery history can be traced back to around 1800, when a distillery named as Duntocher is mentioned for producing a single malt whisky on the same site, and it is strongly believed to be what we now know as Auchentoshan..

Auchentoshan is unusual in that it practices triple distillation instead of the industry norm double distillation. This is believed to produce a lighter more floral, sweeter whisky generallay associated with the ” Lowlands” area of Scotland’s whisky production. Auchentoshan is not a distillery that you will find any peat or smoke used within its production, as it likely to over power the more delicate, floral whisky and its lovely subtle fruit flavours..

However more recently the distillery is starting to produce some more hefty, big bodied and absolutely fantastic fully matured sherried whisky from both Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez casks as well as some absolute stunning wine cask “finishes” and full maturation, although this may not be a new thing it is becoming more mainstream..

21 year old Auchentoshan – Review

Distillery.. Auchentoshan

Region.. Lowland

Age.. 21 years

Abv.. 43%

Cask.. American Oak ( Bourbon ) European oak ( Sherry / Oloroso )

Nose.. Lots of green notes in here including green apples, lime, lemon peel with a touch of dried grass, pear and honey. A little heather honey mixes with soft hints of dates, chocolate and floral notes, add to this that signature nuttiness that Auchentoshan is well known for and you have a very appealing aroma.

Palate.. A little more robust than some of the younger expressions with plenty of fresh fruits, soft spices and chocolate. A touch of honey brings in some sweetness, oak tannins give the feeling of a little age while a citrus note gives a subtle bitterness towards the end.

Finish.. Soft spices mingle with a citrus bitterness

Thoughts.. I have had my say on the preposterous, shameful, downward spiralling route into a cocktail dominated existence the distillery seems to be heading, but take that away, along with the ridiculous reasoning behind creating a more expensive, average whisky designed by bartenders for bartenders, especially when you have perfectly good whisky already in the market for that purpose and you are left with what is in essence the very liquid I fell in love with so many years ago..

This 21 year old is the flagship expression within the core range and its there for a reason.. The higher use of the bourbon casks is apparent and without going overboard it allows the nature of the softer side of the Auchentoshan spirit to shine, add to this the re-fill sherry casks and the balance is equalled out rather nicely.

The 43% abv is a welcome step up although I cant help but think maybe 46% would suit better, there is just a tiny flat spot within, this shows when you get to try this at cask strength as it becomes obvious and when it is retailing at the £126 mark just a little more vavoom wouldn’t go astray !!

Even though I have given a few negatives, and believe me, it always pains me to do so, I still have the 21 as one of my favourite Auchentoshan expressions.. There is generally an open bottle on my shelf for those evenings when I need something familiar, something to give me a little boost..

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. sorrenkrebs says:

    Not happy that the boxes have been replaced with the bag.. It’s penny pinching in my opinion but I also have to accept their explanation!!
    Considering the new packaging is out in force I am rather disappointed companies like Amazon are cashing in on the old style already ( assuming it’s a price increase and not that the new style is now cheaper ? )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sorrenkrebs says:

    Hi Mick..
    Firstly I have to agree with you on the festivals and presentation !! Very poor indeed. The Abv debate will always rumble on and I’m with you again..
    I do disagree on being bland, I think the subtle flavours of Auchentoshan get lost on a lot of people who generally drink more robust drams, this is of course all subjective and down to individual palates and opinions. I get where you are coming from however with the comments, I shall indeed try to convince you otherwise at the next festival if I may ?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mick says:

    Have a bottle of the 18 which is as bland as a big bag of bland things – glad I caught it “cheap” at auction, still not worth the money at half the price. I know they can do some great stuff – you taught me that at a show – but I don’t understand the mass of bang ordinary releases at low strength. That’s not how to win customers and build brand loyalty. With so many more options in the market place I can’t help but think they’re missing a trick. They’re poorly represented at whisky shows, generally lumped on a table with a mish-mash of other stablemates and there is never a sense of pride in their products – unlike some stands where the enthusiasm of respective “presenters” really draws the punter in. Honestly, it comes across as not caring, and if they don’t then you can hardly expect the market to get excited. I never look for their products at auction (The 18 caught my eye in the overlooked lower reaches on the last day) nor on whisky sites in the way I would look at 50 other brands just after their being mentioned in an article or review (just like Bartels a couple of weeks ago, thanks again). A lot of my whisky pals are similarly disengaged. We’ve all had a few Auchys and we don’t want any more. That said I’ve got another one open… How did that happen? Stealth.


  4. ilovewhisky says:

    I haven’t tried the 21 yet, and I guess I should really add this to my list… I have been spending some of my evenings with the distillery exclusives which always leave me smiling.

    On a slightly different note, I went on to Amazon last night to buy the Three Wood. I was quite taken aback that the older packaging ((grey) which I love due to its simplicity) is £6.61 more than the new style.. The distillery bottlings now come in a black cotton bag, again, I am not keen on this. What are your thoughts on the change in styling?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nothing wrong with a bit of honesty. Looks a nice piece anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

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