Auchentoshan Three Wood – A Kiss on the Cheek

Though I have others in my cabinet, this is the first Lowland single malt I’ve opened and tasted – ever – if you don’t count Springbank (and, despite the chapter headings in many whiskey books, you should not think of Campbeltown distilleries as having anything whatsoever to do with Lowland whiskeys). Springbank is a riotous lion compared to this untroubling little lamb chop.

Two of the three woods referenced in the name of this unambiguous but piquant libation were sherry (Spanish Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez) and it shows in the deep red-amber color.

The legs are thin, slow and shy.

The nose is surprisingly forceful. Sharp sherry, peanut brittle without the peanuts, diet vanilla wafers, fig squares and maybe a waft of almond dust. And what is that vegetable smell? Fresh cut beets, but they’re far across the room.

The palate is not as airy and fresh as “fresh cut beets” might imply. Rather, it brings a stinging sparkle (should have added water?) and a very slight oily feel. The vanilla wafers have liquefied and the sweetness in not as thin – not as diet – as in the nose, unfolding in a small but determined wave of confectionary sugar that has a slight butterscotch or caramel shading to it. Are there flowers in the room? Perhaps, but, if so, they are far on the other side – and they have oaky stems!

Beyond the slight vanilla-sugar sweetness, the slightest hint of sherry and oak and the alcohol burn, the finish has little to offer – it is, to my palate, the most disappointing aspect of this otherwise well-dressed and domesticated dram. Or is that lamb?

Or, to put it another way…

Auchentoshan Three Wood is a woman I am glad to have met, but whom I will be calling again only if I’m in need of some information I think she may have, or if I’m a bit lonely and looking for no more than a pleasant companion to walk with me through too-cultivated gardens.

Nothing wild or steamy or dreamy here, but sometimes a kiss on the cheek is very nice.

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