Three miniature cakes, a trio of drams, and 200 years’ worth of history lay in front of us last weekend as we were shown to our seats at the Auchentoshan Distillery. 

Granted, drinks were to be expected at the Clydebank site which hosts regular tours giving a glimpse into the inner workings of one of Scotland’s most revered whisky brands 

The cake, however, offered more explanation as to why we had gathered on an unexpectedly sun-soaked afternoon, as a lineup of up-and-coming local artists including kitti and the Rebecca Vasmant Ensemble prepared to take a turn on the main stage outside. 

The Herald:

As previously reported by the Herald, Auchentoshan this year decided to kickstart their double centenary birthday celebrations with a one-off festival, inviting visitors from far and wide to take part in an evening of music, art and tastings of their unique triple distilled spirits. 

Ahead of the event, Fabian Fischer, global marketing manager for Auchentoshan at Beam Suntory,  said: “Here at Auchentoshan we’ve flourished for two centuries but we don’t dwell on the past - we look ahead to social, creative, adventurous times.

"This celebration will kick off our next 200 years of triple distillation: open to new ideas, serious about quality, and capable of innovations to excite our fans around the world.”

As early as 4.30pm on Saturday, a sizeable crowd had gathered at the grounds as a diverse mix of whisky enthusiasts made the most of a modern, Auchentoshan-infused cocktail menu that had been developed with the event in mind. 

The Herald:

Just a short walk away from the revellers, street artist BOIIING, aka Lewi Quinn, could be seen with paintbrush in hand as he was given free rein to paint a colourful mural on the gable end of the historic site, a fitting symbol for a day which sought to blend an appreciation of the distillery’s history with a vibrant vision for the future. 

Undeterred so far by the distractions, we found ourselves directed indoors, where Neil Matthew, assistant VC manager, was ready to lead the way with a whisky-inspired cake tasting with unbridled energy and flair. 

The handiwork of Glasgow based-artisan baker, Designer Cakes by Paige, these dainty bites had been commissioned with two of Auchentoshan’s best-known expressions in mind alongside a new 25-year-old single malt which has been launched to mark the milestone anniversary. 

The Herald:

A vanilla cake, light and sweet was paired with the American Oak Reserve, a single malt that Neil refers to as the distiller’s ‘calling card’, which offers an accessible whisky in both flavour profile and price point which works perfectly for mixed drinks. 

The Auchentoshan 12-year-old found a partner in a more robust carrot cake, as subtle spices brought out the complexity of a more mature spirit with hints of toasted almonds and caramelised toffee. 

Lastly, with a rich red velvet and cherry bake, festival goers were amongst the first to sample the 200-year Anniversary Single Cask release, available exclusively on-site and designed in collaboration with BOIIING. 

Retailing at £400 a bottle, it’s far from cheap for anyone other than a seasoned whisky collector. 

Distilled on June 9, 1997, and matured in a first-fill Oloroso sherry puncheon cask (55.1% ABV), the special release is smooth, sophisticated and enough to tempt more than a handful of our fellow cake tasters to invest in a keepsake of the “once in a generation moment”. 

The Herald:

Suitably fuelled with sugar and in high spirits, the remainder of the evening flew in, with a standout performance from the blistering Federation of the Disco Pimp before the sunset signalled the time for last orders and a return journey to Glasgow. 

Proving that their talent for throwing a party matches that for distilling a whisky, it was a pleasure to raise a glass to 200 years of Auchentoshan and hope for many more yet to come. 

For more information on the Auchentoshan Distillery visit their website here.