Continuing this week’s reviews of new releases from the last month or so we arrive at Aultmore.
John Dewar & Sons Ltd. unveiled the new range of proprietary bottlings from Aultmore distillery only a few weeks ago – forming part of its ‘Last Great Malts’ of Scotland, with the 12-year-old, 21-year-old (in Travel Retail only) and 25-year-old in limited quantities.
The new range of this was never released by the distillery before, launches from January 2015 and is available initially in 10 markets [Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Travel Retail]
Aultmore has been producing malt whisky since 1897, yet little is known about this obscure distillery. Often cloaked in thick fog and exuding an air of mystery, the sparsely populated land surrounding its site has always felt somewhat isolated. The distillery sits in the sweeping hills of Moray, just north of the town of Keith on the rolling road to Buckie.
It was built by Alexander Edward, close to curious terrain called the Foggie Moss. This enigmatic area, well known for illicit distillation in days gone by, is home to Aultmore’s water source. Damp, atmospheric conditions prevail here and the water, filtered through the gorse and heather that abounds, is crucial to the whisky’s light, clear character.
The Scotch itself is often dubbed the ‘Rarest of Speyside’, yet its taste has long been rated top-class by industry insiders and is much sought-after for its grassy notes and exceptional smoothness. Despite its rarity, for more than 100 years it’s known to have been a secret dram of locals and Buckie fishermen, savoured by those who knew to ask at nearby inns for ‘a nip of the Buckie Road’.
let’s taste it, shall we?
Nose: Green. This is what comes to mind first. Fresh cut grass. Honey and some vanilla. Citrus. A slight new make note and a bit of an alcohol bite too. It does feel youngish.
Palate: Rather spirity on entry. Then getting sweeter. Honeyed and citrusy. With lots of sugar. Some milk chocolate, cereals and more sugar and tons of vanilla. Grass. Quite a bit.
Finish: sweet. Drying with grass and traces of sweet chocolate, and cut grass.
This is a lovely malt, grassy and herbal, light and sweet with the right combo of honey spice and chocolate, yet it does feel a bit spirity at times, and not as well rounded as one would expect. It is a nice entry level Aultmore. The pricing is a bit over the top, in my opinion, especially if you’re shopping for it in the UK where you can get it for about 50 quid ( a bit less in other places, but stock seems to gone [TWE had it for around 41 quid but it’s gone], which is a lot of money for a 12 year old, when you think of it. Yes, the bottle looks lovely, and all but when you think about other options which are just as worthy (some even better) which cost you 10-15 quid less (HP12, Benromach 10, Talisker 10, just to name a few) It’s really hard to explain why this 12 year old should be priced the way it is. Surely bacardi can try and sell this for a premium, but I do hope the market will force the price to go down and be in par with other 10-12 year olds of the same “league”.
Official sample provided by John Dewar & Sons