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Auchentoshan and the Blitz
Auchentoshan stands on the outskirts of Glasgow near Clydebank. Originally named Duntocher when it was founded in 1817, it was renamed by John Hart and Alexander Filshie in 1834. Like many distilleries, Auchentoshan has encountered its fair share of challenges over the years, perhaps the biggest of which, came in March of 1941.
With the world engulfed in the mayhem of the second world war, the shipbuilding yards of Clydebank were frantically manufacturing ships and munitions to support the allied struggle against Nazi Germany. That made the area a prime target for attack and as night fell on the evening of the 13th of March, they came.
The Luftwaffe sent more than 400 bombers to Scotland over the course of two nights, creating a scene of carnage and mass destruction the likes of which had never been seen before. Over a thousand bombs fell from the sky, killing 528 people and seriously injuring 617 more. Of 12,000 homes in Clydebank, only 7 were undamaged, leaving 35,000 people homeless.
Even old Auchentoshan didn’t escape the mayhem, suffering a direct hit to the warehouse, leading eye-witnesses to describe apocalyptic scenes of burning whisky, streaming toward the River Clyde.
With the passing of those dark days, Auchentoshan, like the rest of the world, rebuilt and carried on. Today the distillery is owned by Japanese giants, Suntory.
The Auchentoshan 12 year old first appeared in 2008 as a replacement for the 10-year-old. It’s bottled at 40% and comes in around £35 a bottle.
Smell: A subtle nose with a nutty character with notes of vanilla, grass, lemon and lime. There’s some eucalyptus and a little bit of fudge too.
Taste: Creamy with that same nuttiness again. Lemon and lime. Vanilla with a touch of cinnamon and ginger.
Thoughts: The Auchentoshan 12 is quite typically priced for its age and abv. It’s a decent enough malt, arguably one of the better offerings from this distillery, although I must confess that it doesn’t really capture my imagination.
It’s developed a little more complexity than some of the younger no-age-statement bottlings they’ve released which is crucial really. A light-bodied, triple-distilled whisky really needs some cask interaction. Otherwise, you’re just getting a spirit character that’s concentrated one aspect of the flavour profile. Not really to my tastes but a decent enough dram.
*If the whisky reviewed in this article has caught your eye, you can buy it from Master of Malt here. Please be aware that as an affiliate I can be paid a small commission on any purchases you make after following links from my page. The whisky is also available from several other excellent retailers.