This time a review of a line-up of Aberlour. I’ve decided to do an age based line-up which includes their Double Cask 12yo, 15yo and 18yo.

This what Aberlour has to say about their range:

Our single malts are made from expertly crafted new spirit, usually double cask matured for at least 12 years in the finest hand-picked Oloroso Sherry butts and first fill Bourbon casks. When judged ready for bottling, the subtly different flavours of the whisky from each type of cask are orchestrated into a distinguished range of rich, rewardingly complex single malts. For people who know whisky, the result is an unusually engrossing, many-layered experience.

12yo Double Cask (40%)

Tasting notes from Aberlour:

Colour: Amber gold with hints of ruby.
Nose: Sweetly sherried, with buttery notes and juicy ripe apples.
Palate: Christmas cake richness, with a touch of toffee and liquorice. A rich honeyed texture carries a pleasantly heavy character.
Finish: Silky and soothing, with a warming gingery quality.

Color

Deep copper

Nose

Quite soft nose, fruity (orange peel, apricots), spicy (vanilla). Not overly complex.

Taste

Medium bodied, smooth and somewhat light attack, buttery with some nuts and honey but again not very complex. Sherry influence is obviously there with raisins and some of the typical sherry sweetness.

Finish

Short finish with some spicy (vanilla, pepper) finish but not too hot or bitter.

Comments

Nose and taste are consistent and has some positives in it but lacks complexity which probably is in line with only being a 12yo. Influences of Sherry are there but quite subtle.

Score = 79/100

15yo Double Cask (40%, travel retail)

Tasting notes from Aberlour:

Colour: Elegant golden ochre.
Nose: Opening with flowery, grassy notes, with an underlying citrus burst of pink grapefruit.
Palate: A creamy balance of sweet sherry nuttiness, orange and toffee, with smoky undertones. Wonderfully rounded, thick and velvety.
Finish: A buttery smooth finish, with superb length and balance.

Color

Deep gold

Nose

Medium impact on the nose with some citrus (orange peel), roasted flavors (caramel) and a bit of spice (hints of vanilla).

Taste

Medium bodied, smooth sweet attack (dried fruits like raisins), roasted flavors (toffee/fudge, some nuts). Not overly complex but a bit more going on then the 12yo.

Finish

Medium long with some nice dynamics. Caramel, ending with some spice (pepper) and some wood (oak).

Comments

Consistency in nose and taste and some interesting dynamics going on. But complexity is still not that high but again it’s only a 15 yo still. Sherry is there in the notes of raisins.

Score = 81/100

18yo Double Cask (43%)

Tasting notes from Aberlour:

Colour: Sumptuous auburn gold.
Nose: Rich and complex, with notes of toffee and butterscotch combining with ripe peach and bitter orange.
Palate: Superbly structured, with initial notes of soft apricot and cream, offset by developing flavours of old leather and oak, with a touch of honey.
Finish: Very long and well balanced, progressing from crème brulée to a gentle oak flourish.

Color

Chestnutoloroso sherry

Nose

Fruity sherry nose with mix of caramel and raisins. Not overly powerful but a very nice nose with subtle flavours.

Taste

Attack is smooth, creamy and sweet (raisins, caramel fudge) followed up by some spice and some coffee (espresso). Full bodied and very appealing.

Finish

Medium-long finish with caramel, cherry and some spices like cinnamon. Nice dynamics between sweet and spicy notes.

Comments

Consistency in nose and taste (nose could have been a bit more exciting even) with some good complexity and nice sherry influences.

A nice step-up from the 12yo DC and 15yo DC in complexity.

Score = 84/100

Overall view

Aberlour is not known for being experimental and bringing out exciting new offerings but brings a good sherry based line of whiskies for a very competitive price. The 12yo is a nice beginners dram for a very good price. The 15yo is a step and adds a little complexity and a slight twist in the flavours. The 18yo tops it off by again some more complexity but is still very soft and smooth and an easy dram to drink. Not overly exciting but all good value for money!

Next to the above line-up  they have a non-chillfiltered version of the 12yo bottled at 48% abv. which is also an interesting dram, a 12yo sherry cask  (travel retail) and a 16yo double cask.

They also have an excellent (if not best) value for money cask strength NAS offering with their A’Bunadh series. The A’Bunadh is in my view even better then the 18yo double cask and slightly cheaper. The A’Bunadh batches seem to be quite constant in quality with some slightly weaker offerings (#51, #48, #46, #41 and #40 all <86 on WB) once in a while. Strong recent batches are #39, #42, #47, #49, #52 (all >87.8 on WB). The latest batches #53, #54, #55 and #56 are all scoring the same on WB with approx. 87.25

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