As scotch sales surge there are fortunes to be made again in the whisky business, and many established brands are bought and sold, rebranded, or receive an influx of new marketing and ideas. The Morrison Bowmore group is a good example of this, with their brands Bowmore, Glen Garioch, McLelland’s, and Auchentoshan. All of these bottling have received modernized updates to their labels and packaging, making them easier to read and recognize on a bar or store shelf. Each label also represents a certain market segment that is easy to understand for the consumer: Auchentoshan is the slightly understated lowland malt. It goes through three distillations, which imparts a slightly lighter, delicate and floral quality to the spirit. Accompanying the new packaging is this new expression of Auchentoshan 12 year, which has seen more of a sherry influence than the old 10 year it is replacing, adding a mere touch of richness and honey to the signature lowland flavours we know and love. This light touch is surely to put the flavour profile more in tune with a generation of new scotch drinkers who may be put off by a lean, esoteric malt. I think on that account they’ve done a pretty good job of not losing the soul of the distillery during this rebranding process.
Auchentoshan 12 Year has a vibrant, refreshing aroma that will evoke the back room in a florist’s shop. There are the floral notes but also a whiff of the green, stemmy parts and a distinct bit of clove. It smells snappy and clean. This clean sensation continues on the palate into a very spirity, sweet menthol infused finish. The colour of this 12 year is a pale honey, and although it is bottled at 40% and does finish well balanced, the pure spirit character and lack of sweetness makes it seem a little stronger than it is. An invigourating dram that could be a gateway for gin martini drinkers.