So this will hopefully be the first of many distillery tours which I’ll be writing about here on my blog also accompanying with pictures and hopefully YouTube video to go along with it provided the distilleries allow me to record. So starting with the first distillery I’ll be visiting during this 4 day trip to Scotland will be the Auchentoshan Distillery located just outside Glasgow, it’s approximately a 45 minute journey by train and walk from Glasgow’s Queen Street Station to the distillery. I visited the Distillery on Thursday 27th July 2017.
So to start with the journey on how did I get to the distillery? Well as mentioned above it was via train but one thing I will mention do not use Google Maps as it will recommend some crazy routes. The way I would recommend if you are using public transport is to get off the train at Kilpatrick Station and walk over the mini station bridge and follow the path up the steps and under the A898 which will lead to the Great Western Road A82 and lead you straight to the Distillery.
Upon arriving to the distillery you’ll see the famous Auchentoshan sign on the outer wall of the distillery accompanied with a Still (featured image) and at this point the excitement was building as for many that know me Auchentoshan is the first Single Malt Whisky I tried & the only distillery I’ve visited before plus it’s also a triple distilled whisky whereas most whiskies from Scotland are double distilled or a little more. Walking towards the visitor centre and following the outlined path you’ll see the guard in this hut who’s always gives a wave and welcome to the distillery.
So to begin at Auchentoshan you purchase the Distillery tour in the Visitors centre / Shop which costs £10 as a fixed as they didn’t have any other tour options and the tour runs every hour for an hour, the time I got was 3pm as they had a private tasting at 2pm so I had to wait until the later tour. Before the tour you get offered to watch a 6-10 minute video about Auchentoshan and following that it’s time for the Tour. My tour guide for the day was Jeremy a very energetic and jolly person as we started the tour with a group of others making our way into the Mash tun room learning about the regions of Scotland and a great map with LED’s showing all the sister distilleries under the Beam Suntory umbrella. After the process was explained and how Auchentoshan doesn’t use any peat compared to Laphroaig and Bowmore we all got to have a look into the Mash Tun as its was empty before moving into the next room with the wash backs.
Jeremy explained about the Wash backs as the spirit from the Wash backs comes out at 8% abv (alcohol by volume) & Auchentoshan have 4 of which 2 were covered slightly and also the life span of the wash backs and if they need to be replaced will use wood instead of metal ones as some distilleries are converting too. From there you can have a quick peak into them but as many in the group wanted to move onto the still we made way to the famous Three Still at Auchentoshan. The Still room is some sight as three large stills tower in this room and you learn how the 8% abv spirit is passed through the spirit still and distilled 3 times until you get a very smooth new make spirit at 70% abv and above with very characterful citrus notes. This is also where you get offered to try some new make and as I’m always up for that I did, many people looked at me like I’m crazy but if you have great new make it’s an indication of how the whisky will be and this was great, another gentleman on the tour also tried it out as a good 12 others passed it on.
Next up from the Still room is the Warehouse No.3 which is a complete no photo area so sadly all phones and cameras had to be put away but as you get inside the sweet warmth of the aroma lingering in the atmosphere tingles the senses. This for me was one of those places which I could spend a lot of time as it was truly a magically part of the distillery and also gain an inside into the types of wood they use at the distillery, which I’ll leave you to discover when you visit them but most of them are obvious if you look at their productions. Jeremy then explained about the sizes of the casks and what the writing on each cask means. From there the final leg out the tour is into the bar which is a ‘whoa’ moment as it’s so modern and you have a complete selection of the Auchentoshan range on top of the bar, however this is where you get a complementary dram of the recommended entry level from Auchentoshan which is the ‘American Oak.’ Where you are given a complementary Auchentoshan mini mug. After the tasting you get to relax to enjoy your dram and take in the tour of the distillery.
The final part of the tour ends in the Gift Shop where I always ask myself what do I buy? I would suggest to buy whatever takes your fancy but as a recommendation and this being the second time, I’ve figured out what I always look for when at Auchentoshan and that is the Distillery Cask & Glassware. The bottle I picked up on my past trip was the Auchentoshan Distillery Cask which was a sole maturation is a Pedro Ximinez Sherry cask which is bottled at 59.9% abv. It’s a powerfully rich fruity dram which maintains its spice as the texture develops continually. But on this trip they were sold out as they were in the process of moving into an Oloroso Sherry Butt. So I picked up some more glassware along with a coat pin and Umbrella as the rain outside came from nowhere but that’s Scotland for you. Hopefully next trip I’ll be able to get a Distillery bottle.
Overall the trip to Auchentoshan was brilliant and the Tour guide Jeremy was really informative at the same time adding humour with energy which was a massive different from my last trip and made it more entertaining. To conclude if you are visiting do call ahead of time so you know the tour availability but you can also show up if you don’t. Also if you’re driving then there is also a car park available and on recommendations on purchases I’ll still stick with the Distillery cask or bottle your own as it’s an experience if you haven’t already. I look forward to future visits to Auchentoshan, as this distillery still has a soft spot for me and other expression they release.