Aberlour is one of the more high profile and highly regarded Scotch distilleries around, but nothing close to the mainstream recognition of some of its Speyside brothers and sisters. A beautifully heavy Scottish name with plenty of Rs to roll around (AH-bherrr-lau-wherrr!), it’s easy to imagine Ralfy having some Aberlour with his cornflakes in the morning.
Their claim to fame is their restrained use of sherry casks in all their basic expressions, and of course their glowingly reviewed darling child of the whisky community – the single cask A’bunadh sherry monster releases (Go Batch 49!)
Aberlour 12 is their entry level double cask (ex-bourbon and seasoned sherry cask) matured whisky, bottled at 43% and (I believe) non-chill filtered. Here goes!
Bobbing for oranges… in sherry casks. Something like mulled wine, but without the disgust and retching. Waves of light citrus, gentle sherry and spices – cinnamon, cloves, anise, allspice. Lovely! The whisky isn’t overpowered by cask, so you get some rich malty, cereal stuff going on as well.
Abbie 12 tastes far more mature than the age statement would suggest. Woody and rich, with an oiliness on the palette you’d expect from a whisky 6 years older and 6% stronger. Like the smell, that orange is along for the ride and the sherry never gets in the way. Some stone fruits enter the equation, along with melon and coriander(!) That mild liquorice/aniseed quality develops on the finish, which is warm and lingering and lemon-peel bitter.
Uncomplicated, but incredibly good – easy sippin’ and easy chuggin’.
That’s the stuff. Bringing it down ever so slightly – perhaps hovering around 40% – brings it all together. With the strength tempered and the oiliness eased up, what you’re left with is like the Glenmorangie 10 of lightly sherried whiskies – massively approachable and moreish as hell.
Of course my immediate question was whether or not this was better than Glendronach 12. But in reality they’re trying to do different things: Glendronach, like Macallan, is much more heavily sherried, where Aberlour is trying for a balance between a light Spey style and a gentler cask influence.
I think its equally as compelling – like a 1:1 mixture of Glenmorangie and Glendronach, both of which are excellent whiskies in my book. Aberlour 12 is easy to find, easy to buy and definitely worth giving a try!