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.