Launchpad: Auchentoshan

The 14-year-old Cooper’s Reserve (£49.99 for 70cl 46% abv) is the third expression of the range but is somewhat of a departure from the specialist oak-cut theme. Auchentoshan describes all its barrels as ‘fine’, but the emphasis for Cooper’s expression is on the time spent in ex-bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks. Perhaps a little tenuously, Silveroak (£79.99 for 70cl, 51.5% abv) takes its name – not its wood – from old oak trees that develop silver rings. Solera (£130 per 70cl, 48% abv) has not been aged by way of the solera system – as brands Royal Salute and Ballatine’s 30 Year Old are – but instead takes its name from the use of ex-Pedro Ximenez casks, a product of the sherry ageing system.

Because the range tails off from its bespoke-oak theme into more familiar styles and expressions, Auchentoshan’s travel retail rebirth doesn’t exactly furrow virgin territory. But then, in a competitive and crowded scotch landscape, there are few truly original ideas. In Springoak and Heartoak Auchentoshan has thought of two, which should be enough to convince travellers that wood really does matter.

A taste of the tasting notes

Springwood: barley sugar, orange, coconut, honey, lemon, floral notes.

Heartwood: oak, sandalwood, rosewood, cinnamon, coffee, chocolate. 

Cooper’s Reserve: fruit, nuts, barley, chocolate, toffee, brazil nuts, butterscotch, crème brûlée, orange, figs and apricots.

Silveroak: herbs, fruits, floral, honeysuckle, tea tree oil, jasmine, oak, bananas, toffee, almond, liquorice, Turkish delight, coffee, Demerara sugar. 

Solera: dried fruit, plums, cherries, raisins, rosewood, cherry blossom.