Whisky Review – Auchentoshan American Oak and Three Wood

On the left, Auchentoshan American Oak. On the right, Auchentoshan Triple Wood.

On the left, Auchentoshan American Oak. On the right, Auchentoshan Triple Wood.

The pronunciation of Scottish distillery names is something that always has us scratching our heads. While there are few that we THINK we’re pronouncing correctly (Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Balvenie, Ardbeg, and Highland Park appear to be quite straightforward), there are several that we still can’t quite figure out. Here are a few distilleries whose pronunciations continue to befuddle us:

  • Auchroisk – According to former Diageo Global Brand Ambassador Gregor Cattanach, it’s pronounced “Uh-thrusk”.
  • Dailuaine – We think it’s pronounced “Dahl-YOU-ehn”, but we’re probably way off base.
  • Craigellachie – According to our friend Whisky Guy Rob, it’s pronounced “Craig-al-eh-key”.
  • Clynelish – We’ve always pronounced it “Clihn-el-ish”, but apparently, it’s pronounced “Klein-leash”. Who knew!

As far as the pronunciation of Auchentoshan goes, we’re going with “Aw-ken-tosh-ehn”. Here’s how Brian Cox would say it:

At the end of the day, how you say it is much less important than how it tastes, but it’s still fun trying to figure it all out. Thankfully, we always invoke Esquire Magazine’s Rule No. 706 whenever the pronunciation debate rears its ugly head. It goes something like this:

The drunker you are; the easier it is to pronounce the name of a Scotch.

Now that we’ve got all of this pronunciation business out of the way, let’s get on with our review of two very different Scotch whisky expressions from one of Scotland’s Lowland region distilleries

Auchentoshan American Oak

What they say…

Triple distilled and matured solely in American bourbon casks. The result: a Lowland Single Malt Whisky with the sweet aromas of vanilla and coconut – along with the signature smooth, delicate, Auchentoshan taste.

ABV: 40%

What we say…

Auchentoshan American Oak

Boozedancing Rule No. 67.3: Whisky tasting is infinitely more enjoyable when sporting oddly styled facial hair and superhero t-shirts.


  • Appearance: Golden yellow with a slight pale orange hue.
  • Aroma
    • Limpd: Some oak harshness initially. After that, a little menthol and vanilla come through.
    • G-LO: Light and fruity with hints of vanilla, raisins, cinnamon, roasted hazelnuts, and maybe even a touch of marzipan.
  • Taste
    • Limpd: Sweet upfront with a little spice in the middle and a long, mildly spicy burn in the finish.
    • G-LO: Much sweeter than I was expecting. Very light mouthfeel that I found to be a bit on the watery side. Vanilla with a hint of cinnamon in the beginning. Intensifies at mid-palate, but still pretty mellow. A touch of marzipan shows up at the end. The finish isn’t very long and has a touch of lingering cinnamon in the aftertaste.

Auchentoshan Three Wood

What they say…

This unique Auchentoshan Lowland Single Malt Whisky has been matured in three different cask types. Moving from American Bourbon to Spanish Oloroso Sherry – and finally Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks – Three Wood is a rich, complex whisky with incredible toffee and sherry oak flavours.

ABV: 43%

What we say…

Auchentoshan Three Wood

  • Appearance: Hello again Amberlita! Looks like she went a bit auburn this time around thanks to her slight reddish tint.
  • Aroma
    • Limpd: Balsamic vinegar, dried fruit (think raisins and figs), and caramelized sugar.
    • G-LO: A bit more alcohol on the nose when compared to the American Oak. Once that subsides, lots of sweet fruitiness comes through. I’m getting brown sugar, maple syrup, chipotle, cinnamon, and rum soaked raisins.
  • Taste
    • Limpd: Much spicier than the American Oak. Nice and peppery upfront followed by some sweetness and a very pleasant finish.
    • G-LO: A touch meatier on the palate. Dark, rich fruitiness at the onset. Cinnamon and a touch of chipotle spiciness at the middle. Ends on a warm and soothing note with all of the fruit and spice coming together. The finish is short but very pleasant.

The Verdict

Limpd and I have come to similar conclusions about these Auchentoshan expressions…

We enjoyed the American Oak and found it to be a light and easy drinking whisky, but we think it needs a bit more time in the barrel and a higher bottling strength to become a whisky that we might actually purchase. We’re gonna call this “training wheels” whisky because we can definitely see this being a good “Intro to Single Malt Scotch”. On the flip side, given it’s reasonable price of around $35 to $40 per bottle, this would be a great whisky to have on hand for Highballs or sipping over ice since it has summertime dram written all over it.

The Three Wood was infinitely more enjoyable! The marginally higher ABV coupled with the time spent in Oloroso and PX Sherry casks upped the intensity and enjoyability factor (no water needed with this one!). This was the definite winner of the two, and one that we would definitely seek out again.


Many thanks to Savona Communications for sending us these very generous samples!

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