Weekly Whiskey - Auchentoshan Three Wood

Auchentoshan is a Lowlands Distillery near Glasgow, Scotland. They produce an impressive lineup of not-so-classic Single Malt Whiskys, dubbing their movement the "New Malt Order". Today I'm featuring their Three Wood, which as the name suggests is finished in 3 different types of casks. Each wood imparting its unique flavor profile on the finished product. Bourbon, Spanish Oloroso, and Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks bring color, flavor, and complexity to this smooth-sippin juice. 

Let's talk specs- coming in at 86 proof, this 100% malted barley starts its life in a lauter tun, and sits in Oregon Pine (as opposed to stainless steel) before distillation. An exception to most Scotches, this brew is triple distilled, refining the grain characteristic, and giving a smooth finish and mouthfeel. 

According to Auchentoshan's website

If a spirit wants to be called Single Malt Scotch Whisky, it must be matured in oak for at least three years - no less. We go much further.

Our whisky is matured in casks which held bourbon, sherry or fine wine. A selfless act of recycling? Not quite. It's an essential step in creating Auchentoshan - the spirit and the wood work together over many years, lending colour and flavour to the finished whisky.

So it's no surprise we spend so much time and effort selecting precisely the right casks - or indeed in balancing the unique flavours each cask imparts. That way, we create a whisky with flavours right across the spectrum.

 

Weekly Whiskey- The Emerald 1865 Ransom Straight American Whiskey

Last year I had the pleasure of attending Cuts Camp at Ransom Distillery in Sheridan, Oregon. Creating a batch of Old Tom was exciting to say the least, but tasting my way through the entire Ransom portfolio was mind-blowing! You can taste for yourself at their tasting room in Mcminnville, Oregon.

Sitting pretty at 86 proof, Ransom has truly outdone themselves with this throwback mid-19th century Irish style whiskey. The mash bill of this exquisitely handcrafted spirit is using 67% two row malted barley, 7% unmalted barley, 15% rye, and 12% oats. 

Irish whiskey often incorporates unmalted barley, as it was historically a way for distillers to avoid taxes on malted barley products. This also creates a unique flavor profile, which is a little less sweet than single malt spirits.

Oats are not often used in mash for beer or whiskey because they create a viscous gummy mess that is difficult to handle. Some anti-coagulants can be used to prevent clumping, but many whiskey recipes avoid using it altogether. Why? Well, the more surface area of the grains are exposed, the faster and more evenly the yeast can break down the sugars in the grain.

Since Ransom is doing small batch, by hand, they are able to replicate this recipe from 1865 which has a small percentage of oats. Oats, like corn, cannot be used alone as it does not contain the correct enzymes necessary for making the brew. 

From the Ransom Spirits Website:

"Thanks to colorful folklore passed down through the generations, we know that the Irish whiskey of today little resembles its 19th century predecessors. Trouble was, there was none left of the traditional whiskey to taste in our quest to recreate the long lost gems of the Emerald Isle. Fortune gave us two good turns; a British excise agent who recorded an Irish mash bill in 1865, and our friend David Wondrich, who found said recipe poring over the microfiche annals of history and passed it along to us. With this mash bill as our guide, we set out to create our own interpretation of a traditional Irish whiskey. To call our version modern might be a stretch— We grow a percentage of the barley organically on our farm, our grains are milled, mashed and fermented in small batches at our distillery and farm in the emerald hills of Sheridan, Oregon, and we distill according to our senses in our handmade, direct-­‐fired alembic pot still. The Emerald matures in a mix of French and American oak for three years, and is hand bottled, capsuled, and labeled.  The result is a highly aromatic spirit with the weight, richness, and complexity of its forbearers."

Weekly Whiskey- WhistlePig The Boss Hog 2014

The Boss Hog 2014 is an ultra premium 100% mash bill rye whiskey. Aged 13 years, and sits at 118 proof, respectively. This hot stuff boasts to be the finest rye in the world, also dubs this release as the "Spirit of Mortimer" after their late porcine companion. The pewter pig with wings that sits atop each bottle is a monument to their departed friend. 

According to Whistle Pig's Website: 

The 2014 Boss Hog was been selected from among our oldest and most unique barrels – Bond 77. Bond 77 entered wood on April 5, 2001. As part of a quadruple barrel aging process, the Spirit of Mortimer spent nearly 14 years in a combination of new American oak, and early use bourbon barrels. Bottled at cask-strength, the Spirit of Mortimer represents our purest, most powerful, and most primordial expression of the world’s finest rye.

I highly recommend checking out their Rye vs Bourbon page if you've ever wondered what the difference is between the two. Their notes on processes are also quite extensive. 

Although I don't agree with the founder's politics, I do appreciate this whiskey. For the price tag it is not the best value out there, but if you see it on a shelf, I recommend you get it while you can.