Aberlour 12 Year Double Cask: 43% abv
Another review for your liking, and we’re taking a look at another single malt Scotch. This one is done by Aberlour Distillery, in Strathspey, Scotland. They produce a Speyside single malt, and generally have affiliations with making a good “sherried” whisky. Aberlour A’bunadh is a great example of such a whisky. It makes sense that one would consider them to be a producer of sherried single malts, as the 12 and 16 also have very obvious sherry notes in them. Aberlour is currently owned by Pernod Ricard, and was initially founded in 1879 (wikipedia says differently) , so there is some history to the distillery.
Here’s a little bit about the whisky in question. The most important first fact to note about the Aberlour 12 Year, is that it isn’t alone. If you look around, you can find an Aberlour 12 Year Non-Chill Filtered variant. This individual bottling has a 48% abv and obviously no chill-filtration, but you are paying nearly the same price as the 16 year for that treatment. It seems like a bold move by Aberlour, but let’s focus on our friend here. This will run you around the same price as a Glenlivet 12, Glenfiddich 12, or Macallan 10, plus some change, but it really competes with the likes of Macallan 10, Macallan 12, Glenfarclas 12, Balvenie 12, and others.
So how does it hold up in the stiff $40 base single malt range? Well we’re here to tell you. The nose gives you a nice blast of oak right off the bat, with the barley malt as a close second. There is a slightly vegetal quality to the nose, and retains a nice mixture of grain, sherry, slight bourbon influence, vanilla, and fruits. There is wheat on the nose, maple, molasses, raisons, light spice, a subtle lemon and grape presence, and just a general fruit sweetness. The nose provides some level of complexity, but you have to reach for it to truly grasp it.
The arrival provides a decent introduction into the flavor, with barley, slight spice, caramel, and weak wine grape flavors. Not much is added in the body with oak, vanilla, malted barley, white grape, and some grape-like acidity. The body remains quite disappointing, due to the lack of complexity. After a little bit of water, the body becomes more wine-like and there is the addition of small spicy notes.
The finish begins to introduce a large sherry character to the malt, and both cask influences become evident. There is oak, vanilla, raisons, cinnamon, ginger, molasses, maple, hot pepper, slight cherry, caramel, and powdered sugar. After adding water, the finish becomes more peppery. The finish is probably the most prominent part of the malt, and we didn’t find it mind-blowing by any means.
This malt is generally an okay buy, but it lacks the overall complexity to shred with the big boys. Perhaps that 12 Year Non-Chill Filtered version might come into play here, but by no means is this a bad whisky. The problem is it doesn’t really spark any sort of excitement. As a casual sipper, though, it sure is a smooth Scotch to enjoy. It seems that Macallan 10 year has more depth, but not quite the same sherry impact as Aberlour presents here. Either way, not one you’ll spit out in disgust, so try it and see if it fits the bill for your taste.