Sunday, 2 October 2011

Auchentoshan whisky tasting event

Last weekend I was invited down to Nation of Shopkeepers to attend a whisky tasting event for Auchentoshan, a single malt scotch whisky, and to have a bite to eat.

Auchentoshan (pronounced Ock Un Tosh Un - not Ockytoshy as I was calling it several hours and several drinks later...) is a distillery up in Glasgow, and is the only single malt whisky to be triple distilled, bringing the spirit upto 81%, and is matured in casks that previously contained bourbon, sherry or fine wine.

The press release explained:

Auchentoshan is a whisky that’s targeted at guys and girls who enjoy the finer things in life but who might not have tried aSingle Malt before. With packaging and branding that are contemporary and sophisticated, it’s increasingly the choice of those who want to be educated and knowledgeable about the contents of their drinks cabinet. As a whisky that likes to do things differently, Auchentoshan triple distils every single drop, making it the smoothest and most delicate tasting Single MaltIt likes to work alongside and support like-minded creatives who choose to push boundaries in their fields.

So to the event...

I arrived at Nation of Shopkeepers, feeling uncomfortable as always as I do in there - I have never been, and never will be, cool enough to feel at home in there.  I ordered a diet coke at the bar and upon paying asked where I should be for the event.  That sparked some confusion in the staff and after one staff member asked another, who I assumed to be in charge of sorts, I was told to "stay there, someone will find you" in a rather offhand and unfriendly way.  If I'm honest I nearly left at that point, had it not been for Katie (Leeds Grub) arriving I would have walked out.

We sat down and after half an hour or so of chatting Katie asked again at the bar, she was given similar offhand treatment, but luckily a representative from the whisky tasting stepped in with a friendly greeting and things eventually got moving.

We had some food, the less said about that the better - the picture below says it all, and then went outside for the event.

While we were having the food we were given a couple of the Auchentoshan and ginger ale drinks to try.  I'm actually a brandy drinker, and I always drink that just with some ice, whenever I've had whisky I've had it in the same way, so it was interesting to try it.  I wasn't sure at first but it really grew on me, I could see myself drinking this on a night out rather than the usual vodka or gin.

We sat down at the tasting and the table filled up quickly, I'd guess the other tastees were all university freshers, but they were game for trying it and asked some good questions.

We started off with the Auchentoshan Classic which had hints of vanilla and citrus, we were told to swill it round in the glass then slowly take 4 sniffs to get the scents rather than a nose of booze fumes, as you repeated the process the scents developed more each time and I could really smell the vanilla.

Next up we tried the 12 years old, which had more of a nutty and toffee taste.  If I've remembered correctly this one we were told to pop our hands over the top of the glass and then splash some of the whisky on it, then pop the glass down and rub your hands together and then smell, this really brought out the different scents.

Last up we tried the Three Wood.  This whisky is matured in three different cask types, bourbon, Spanish sherry and then Pedro Ximenez sherry.

This was my favourite of the three (and also the most expensive, typical for me!).  It had a strong depth of flavour and was really moorish.  I could easily have had three or four of these.  The butterscotch sweetness was just right, not too sweet, just to give a hint of the flavour.

I really enjoyed the event, and I'll be looking out for the Three Wood to buy as a Christmas present for my Dad, not because I want to try it again of course....  The tasting really opened my eyes to whisky, a spirit I never normally bother with, and I'd love to try some more in the future, particularly now I know some tasting techniques!

Sorry Katie, couldn't resist popping this one up!

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