“American Oak.” How boldly non-European for this single malt scotch whisky. This Auchentoshan (with no specified age) has been matured in first fill American oak bourbon barrels and triple distilled. This triple distillation is something Auchentoshan insists on for all its whiskies which results in a higher ABV and usually a lighter nose and taste. Their American Oak is a great intro to the modern Auchentoshan.
So: real talk here. I usually check Master of Malt to learn more about scotch that I’m interested in—usually before I buy them, but sometimes afterwards. This was an afterwards: and they don’t even have it yet. That’s how new this release is.
American Oak was produced under the purview of the woman that’s been called “The First Lady of Scotch,” Rachel Barrie, who holds the title of Master Blender for not only Auchentoshan, but also Bowmore and Glen Garioch, having moved to this post after serving as Master Blender for Glenmorangie and Ardbeg for 16 years. A chemist and research scientist by training, she treats her profession as a blend of science and art. “Usually I look for a sense of place,” she says.
Vanillin, touch of citrus zest, caramel. Terrifically rich to the nose.
The vanilla and caramel from the nose carry through to the tongue, joined by oakiness and a touch of spice. That oak? Like a fresh wood floor. Incredibly oaky, which becomes one note, held. Especially when contrasted with their Three Wood, which is one of my favorites and wonderfully well-rounded. The American Oak has a relatively crisp finish, though the usual scotch warming tingle takes place just afterwards, especially after the first sip. Smooth but not super easy drinking, by scotch standards.
No leather, no peat, and little smoke—and what little of it there is hovers near the finish—for those who don’t like those characteristics of scotch. This would be a good step number two for people just getting into scotch.
List is $39.99 for 750 ml. If you’re Chicagoland-local, Binny’s has been putting American Oak on sale (as long as you have a free membership card) for five bucks less than list, at $34.99, but has been running out of stock regularly.
This is just a smidge more expensive than Auchentoshan’s Classic ($29.99), which it may be destined to replace, but less expensive than the other Auchentoshans, the Three Wood being the standard-bearer ($64.99).
Metasip Grade: B+
Excellent for its price point, but a little too one-note for an A-level grade. While normally I’m loath to use single malts in cocktails, this one from Auchentoshan’s site strikes me as particularly spritely for summer: Whisky-a-Lolo.