I had a bottle of Aberlour 12yr last year, which I quite enjoyed. Recently, I picked up a bottle of 10yr, which I thought was pretty decent, if showing its immaturity. I have been talking with some others about a taste comparison between the 12yr and 16yr Double Cask expressions from Aberlour, which was on my mind when I went by the package store today. So there I was, looking for yet another older vintage of the Glenrothes when what before my wondering eyes did appear? Aberlour 15yr, Sherry Finish! I had never SEEN this bottle before!
One of the things I love about Aberlour 12yr is the wonderfully sweet sherry finish on an otherwise smooth as silk whisky. I could only imagine what the 15yr sherry finish would hold for me. However, that wasn't all I would find in store for me. They also had the 12yr and 16yr, which I had been wanting to try. At this point, I pulled these three bottles off the shelf, and placed them up at the register, asking the purveyor to hold on to them while I kept looking. After scrounging through their vast inventory, the shop-keep pointed me towards a glass case where the Jack Daniels Single Barrel whisky was stored. He said he had one more Aberlour bottle (which I figured was the A'Bunadh.)
It was not the A'Bunadh. It was the 18yr! Now, you all might be thinking, "so, you found the ENTIRE core lineup of Aberlour plus a specialty bottling." But you see, I have never even seen two of these bottles ANYWHERE, so it was a pretty huge deal for me. I decided to go for it, and put the 18yr up on the counter with the others!
Here's the lineup:
After leaving the shop, I took all of my newly acquired goodies to my favorite cigar shop, where I was going to enjoy a few hours with a nice cigar. I was planning on taking my 10yr up to the shop to enjoy, so now I had the complete lineup (absent the A'Bunadh) and was on my way to a location where good-hearted and jovial gentleman go to hang out and have a good time.
After parking my car, I popped the trunk and brought in my big box of booze, ready to take my fellow travelers on a trip through the Aberlour distillery, if they would indulge me. Of course I was able to find some willing compatriots, some who made all five stops and others who took a short-cut. Of those who made comments and shared their opinions, the following represents the collective reviewing of the Aberlour range:
Aberlour 10yr Pure Single Highland Malt:
A bit immature, with a big sherry finish. Rough around the edges, showing a bit of its youth. Nice flavor coming through, with sweetness on the tongue. Frankly, the difference in price between the 10 and 12 year is but a pittance to pay for the difference between the two. Night and day.
Aberlour 12yr Double Cask:
Smooth and sweet. Wonderfully crafted to deliver a big, robust sherry flavor up front. However, the finish was non-existent. It finished so smooth and so fast with zero spice. One reviewer stated it was very complex, building with flavors. I didn't necessarily agree, as I tend to view this whisky as a smooth sherry monster, with little complexity.
Aberlour 15yr Sherry Finish:
Wow! Now this was something all-together different. Spices come out on the palate and in the long finish. The sweetness hit the middle of the palate, with a nice plum fruitiness. Not so much a tip of the tongue sweetness, but more a wine-like taste, that was very good. This was a great fan-favorite. I enjoyed it very much as well.