Aberlour A’bunadh is indeed one of my all time favourite ‘affordable’ whiskies, through many batches, and I know very well It is also a favourite of many whisky friends , But Aberlour distillery is much more than A’bunadh. I was very keen on trying a few more Aberlour I have not tried, and some I’ve had but not recently. What a better opportunity than one of those lovely twitter tastings run by Steve Rush of the whisky wire. So, here we were, myself and a nice bunch of fellow twitter whisky lovers and geeks ready to try some Aberlour. We started our journey with the 12 year old Double matured, and finished the tasting with another 12 year old. fun.
Double matured in sherry oak after a maturation in ex-bourbon casks. hence the name.
Nose: Starting sweet with a dollop of cherry liquor, some spice, milk chocolate and orange. Apple dipped in honey. Getting deeper notes with time: some pine too (or mint if you prefer).
Palate: Lots of dried fruit goodness here with a lot of sherry effect, yet it’s quite gentle, it’s not in your face kid of sherry, and no balsamic or the like, just the sweet stuff. some orange peel as well, pepper. it’s quite balanced and very nice.
Finish: Nuts and milk chocolate.
This is a very nice whisky, with a lovely nose, sweet, yet not over powering. big like!
We then set to try the older version, again double matured, and found it It does differ quite a bit from this 12 yo.
Nose: This is not quite as sweet as the 12 yo. it’s more balanced and delivers more spice, fruits (pears) and a bit of honey, it’s “greener”. after a bit of time some more dried fruit become noticeable such as fig, and sugared plum, but it’s not as intense. and yes, more citrus-y. even waxy.
Palate: Spicy,zingy with some pepper and citrus, lemon, getting a bit interesting with some tobacco and leather notes as well, getting a bit dirty and earthy too, even nutty.
Finish: Dirty sort of chocolate, orange.
This one felt more complex, and It was not just an ‘older’ version of the 12, but quite different too. Good stuff again, even better maybe.
After two drams, it was time for something powerful, in the form of the beloved
A’Bunadh, this time batch 45, although batch 46 is also available. Cask strength at over 60%. this is a stunner.
Nose: lots and lots of dried fruit. an avalanche of sultanas, plums, prunes, varnish, acetone. OH MY. I love it.fruit cake. lots and lots of spice, cloves, cinnamon,OLOROSO colossus. and we love it. damn. it’s lovely. water? nah, no need. Plums ,yes did i mention plums (I did, but there are a lot).
Palate: plums cigar leaves, sugar, a lot of dried fruit, mushroom and some balsamic, sweet nectar and quite a bit of spice too. Plums galore on the palate with a hint of Candied orange peel.
Finish: Plums, candied orange peel, dried fruit, nuts, tobacco.
OMG. in short: stunning. for under 40 quid, it’s one of the best bang for your buck out there in the whisky world. period. If you love sherry, and you like a big dram: buy one. a no brainer. one of the better batches IMHO. love it.
After that avalanche of flavours we needed a lot of water to cleanse the palate, and give any other whisky a chance to shine. And it was time for the 18 yo.
Nose: Spicy with a lot of Cloves and nutmeg, cereal, sugar, orange peel, Older wood, with woof varnish, some acetone, it’s woodier, and not as sweet as the others but not as citrusy as the 16.. add some luscious cooking apples (the red type, and thanks to Jason B standing for helping here…).
Palate: A whole lot of stewed or cooked apples, red apples, sweet, with lovely citrus to balance it all. Wood is also a player here, with quite a bit of “polish”
Finish: Spice, apples, zingy ginger, sweet sugar and wood varnish.
This is not as feisty as the previous dram, but it’s just good. older wood. and apples.
To close the tasting, we come back to another 12 year old dram, this time NCF, meaning it’s got more flavour, and this one also comes at 48% which is just as we like it.
Nose: This is nice, quite biting, with pepper, also nice sherry, fig, a hint of smoke here and there, zingy citrus. It’s a nice one alright and quite different than the 12 we started the session with.
Palate: Oily and mouth coating, spicy, with pepper on the entry, then goes into sweeter realms. dark fruit, sugar, smoke & earth.
Finish: Earthy, sweet, gingery. dried fruit. lovely.
Quite lovely, and a notch better than the first d.matured 12. It’s really got a nice feel to it.
This has been a most enjoyable tasting indeed. Aberlour’s range is of the highest quality, and are quite well priced too. The clear winner again, is the Abunadh , but not by a very big margin, the 16 , 18 and 12 NCF as well as the 12 are all very very good drams. I was very impressed. very much so. Each and every one of those will make a cracking Xmas gift for any whisky lover. I know I’d love to get one of those babies as a gift.
Many thanks to Aberlour and to Steve for hosting another educational, fun and yummy event.