Whisky Review #45 – Auchentoshan Three Wood


Intro – My first journey into the Lowland region of Scotland we have the Auchentoshan Three Wood. Lowland whiskies are known for being lighter whiskies with close ties to Irish whisky as far as smell & taste go. Auchentoshan is also triple distilled which is another reason for its light flavors. I have to say when I read that a whisky has a light character I usually don’t go for it.  The Three Wood seemed like a good one to try as it is triple matured (hence the Three Wood) in Bourbon, Oloroso Sherry and PX Sherry casks. So I figured even if the flavor off the stills is light the casks should hopefully impart some nice strong sherry flavors. Bottled at 43%, chill filtered and colored. No age on this one so who really knows. Reviewed neat.

Nose – wet grass, sour sherry, spicy, salty sneaker rubber, cinnamon, odd grassy note which must be the Auchentoshan character, slight cherry and sherry note. The red fruit/sherry notes are killed by the grassy, spicy, young spirit. More time in the cask would probably have helped. I am sure this was a quick maturation. Complex nose…strange but in a good way. Time the glass helps.

Taste – sweet arrival, thick sugary mouthfeel, light sherry…odd sherry, turning spicy and hot – sweetness doesn’t stick around. flavor falls away quickly.

Finish – chocolate, cinnamon, baking spices, auchentoshan (grassy, hot spirit) character then nothing…can barely be called a short finish – not off putting but very short and lacking.

Favorite Part – The Nose.

Conclusion – Meh. This is a strange one. Usually I enjoy strange/odd/characterful whisky but just when you think it’s going to wow you the flavor disappears. Great nose but on the taste and finish you can tell it’s young. I think they left in the casks just long enough to not make it horrible. That said if they put some quality casks for longer and bottled it at a higher ABV  I think it would be much better. I probably won’t try another Auchentoshan because I think without the extra cask maturation the base spirit would gross me out. I can’t really recommend this one.

Rating – 63/100

  • Presentation – 2/5
  • Nose – 20/25
  • Taste – 23/35
  • Finish – 15/25
  • Value – 3/10

Whisky Review #44 – Highland Park Dark Origins


Intro – It has been almost 5 months since my last whisky review. Life has been busy and lately I have been more interested in just enjoying whisky then reviewing it. The weather today is rainy and dreary so I figure it is a good day for a review…or a nap. Maybe a nap after the review. Highland Park Dark Origins came onto the whisky scene a few years ago. Another Non Age Statement (NAS) whisky to annoy the whisky purists. I have tried the Highland Park 12 and remember enjoying it. It is probably the whisky I would most recommend to people starting out in their exploration of single malt whisky. The Dark Origins is supposed to be a richer, darker whisky with more first fill sherry casks to give it a deeper sherry character. I did my research and reviews were good and bad. I enjoyed the Highland Park character I found in the 12 year so I figured I would enjoy the extra sherry maturation in Dark Origins. Also being bottled at 46.8% ABV helps. Non Chill Filtered and I believe natural color. I think I paid about $75 in late 2016.

Nose – Big sherry, dark fruits, caramel, soft vanilla, light underlying smoke, slightly medicinal, light pepper and spice, complex deep notes of sherry, spice and intertwined smoke. Highland Park character is there covered with sherry. Great nose.

Taste – sweet sherry on the arrival, candy sweetness, quickly turning spicy, then dark fruits,chocolate…bitter chocolate and smoke. very quick changes in your mouth. Does not taste young. Good mouth feel.

Finish – short/medium finish – I wish it was longer. I wish there was more smoke on the finish but that may take away from the sweetness so I think it is properly balanced there. There is nothing off putting on the finish – I just want more!

Favorite Part – The Taste.

Conclusion – Some reviewers have hated this expression. I have to say I really love it. Maybe there are batch variations but my bottle has been going down fast. My wife also really enjoys it. I heard recently that it is being discontinued so I will probably try to get another bottle before it is gone for good. Over the years I have come to realize I enjoy certain distilleries more then others. Highland Park is on my short list of distilleries I enjoy. Dark Origins is a bit expensive for a NAS but for me it was worth it.

Rating – 82/100

  • Presentation – 5/5
  • Nose – 23/25
  • Taste – 30/35
  • Finish – 18/25
  • Value – 6/10


Whisky Review #42 – Laphroaig Triple Wood


Intro – I have had many different expressions from Laphroaig. Triple Wood was the 4th expression that I tried. I started with the standard 10 year, then went to Quarter Cask, then the 10 year old Cask Strength before trying the Triple Wood. Triple Wood is matured like  Quarter Cask but is finished in sherry casks for added complexity. Bottled at 48% and Non-Chill Filtered. No Age Statement. Nothing noted on the bottle about added coloring so we can assume they color this one to keep it consistent. Retails around $55-$60 in my area.

****Reviewed neat on 12/15/2016****

Nose – deep caramel, heavy sherry, minty…reminds me of a crisp winter morning, medicinal, smoke, light pepper, overripe berries, minty toothpaste mixed with glue, smoked dark fruits, vanilla and caramel flows throughout with sherry dancing in & out, dusty garage smells in the middle of winter. Spectacular nose.

Taste – sweet, caramel, quick dark fruits, super sweet sherry blast, spicy, dark chocolate,smoke

Finish – pepper, smoke, sweet wood, slight sherry undertones that only contribute – they do not dominate. classic Laphroaig finish.

Favorite Part – The Nose. *50+ whiskies into my whisky journey…this is my favorite nose.*

Conclusion – Triple Wood is my favorite expression from Laphroaig’s standard line. Some people don’t rate it too highly but for some reason it ticks all the right boxes for me. The sherry is not dominate but it adds interesting and complex notes to the Laphroaig character. Even though it is made the same way Quarter Cask is, it doesn’t have that overly woody character to it that turns me off so much with Quarter Cask. It reminds more of the 10 year then the Quarter Cask because of the sweetness and caramel. Non Age Statement whisky can be good…it can even be a favorite.


  • Presentation – 4/5
  • Nose – 25/25
  • Taste – 32/35
  • Finish – 22/25
  • Value – 8/10

Whisky Review #33 – Ardbeg Corryvreckan


Intro – Another 50ml sample bottle from my Ardbeg Exploration Pack. This pack contains a 750ml bottle of the 10 year old, a 50ml bottle of Uigeadail and a 50ml bottle of Corryvreckan. Corryvreckan is bottled at a whopping 57.1% ABV. Cask strength, Non-Chill Filtered and Natural color. I am expecting a more intense, powerful version of the 10 year old.

****Review with water on o6/21/16 while listening to Sammy Davis Jr.****

Nose – smoke, citrus, freshly ground black pepper, super glue, sweet charred wood, dusty, light sherry, caramel, bubble gum, plastic, peppered sherry cake, light fruit (citrus and sherry) notes under a blanket of smoke and pepper. Easy to nose.

Taste – thick mouthful, sweet start with caramel and sugar with chocolate – turning dry, licorice, smoke at the end with light pepper.

Finish – sour wood, pepper, smoke, citrus. slightly medicinal – long finish.

Favorite Part – The Nose.

Conclusion – Water is a must. This is a strong whisky. I almost feel like I should have added more water. I only have a small amount left in my 50ml bottle so on my last glass I may add even more water. Very silky smooth mouth feel with a strong, powerful flavor. I am glad I was able to try it in a sample because I wouldn’t buy a bottle. Don’t get me wrong…it’s very good but at almost $90 around here I can’t justify that price. If you have the cash and want a really good cask strength characterful smokey whisky I’d say go for it. If you want to save $30 I’d say grab a Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength.

Rating – 79/100

  • Presentation – 5/5
  • Nose – 19/25
  • Taste – 29/35
  • Finish – 20/25
  • Value – 6/10