Happy accidents are all around us. They often start simple. You wander into a bar, look around, find yourself presented with better than average options, and end up with a glass full of Auchentoshan, which is surprisingly light and delicate, but with enough complexity to be no accident.
Then there are the not so simple accidents. Like the quirks of history that created the style of whisky now swirling in your glass. Auchentoshan is one of the last remaining Lowland distilleries in Scotland, a region with a style as unique as it’s Speyside and Islay cousins, yet wholly unusual in scotch making and is fully created by the accident of it’s location. Founded in 1823 by Irish refugees on the outskirts of Glasgow it’s seen the city rise into an industrial complex, the bygone glory days of it’s shipbuilding and engineering prowess, and is still tucked away in it ‘corner of the field’ watching the trade city grow more
cosmopolitan. All of these pieces come together. The shipping and trade gave massive access to barrels of all kind for excellent aging but more importantly the whisky itself was primed for bigger barrel interaction by the influence of those Irish refugees and their tradition of Triple Distillation. Coming off the stills at a higher proof leaves the raw spirit lighter and more ready to soak in the plethora of barrels floating in and out of the port city.
And then there are the literal accidents. Years ago, the Head Distiller Jeremy Stevens was working on a batch of sherry finished malt. It had already spent time in ex-Bourbon barrels, and had been aging in Olorosso Sherry casks. After the initial dump he felt it need some more time in the sherry wood, ordered the malt to be rebarreled and left for a trip out of the country. When he came back he found that instead of Olorosso it had gone into Pedro Ximenez sherry barrels.Rather than losing his job the distillery discovered one of their most popular expressions: The three wood..
So, the accidents of place, time, history, barrels and communication have granted you a glass of delicate, rich toffee, with candied plums, blackcurrents and a hint of hazelnut. So let’s raise a glass to accidents. May they be few and happy.