Pros: A great after dinner dram, well balanced, ~$45 US
Cons: None other than availability
Founded in 1879 by James Fleming, the Aberlour distillery still stands on the pure spring water that pours forth from the St Drostans Well. Aberlour (Mouth of the Lour) is about a 3-hour drive north of Edinburgh and minutes away from the North Sea/North Atlantic Ocean.
The distillery lies in the heart of the Speyside Region, famous for its many whisky distilleries. I am still determining how I am going to visit all my favorite distilleries and be able to drive at the same time. The Glenfiddich, Macallan, and Glenlivet are just minutes away as well as another dozen or so great distilleries.
Aberlour uses untreated, natural spring water. The only other additions are the malted barley (traditionally dried over peat), and yeast for the fermentation. Thats the wonder of Scotch Whisky, it is so simple, yet so complex.
Aberlour then stores the middle portion of their distillation run in oak casks. This 15-year-old scotch is stored in casks that were previously used for sherry. These European oak casks are slightly charred (far less than American bourbon casks) and the whisky is golden amber as a result.
One of my favorite aspects of the OUTSIDE of the bottle is that each bottle boldly states, Let the Deed Show. This family motto, given by Robert the Bruce, firmly demands that we all be our own judges of their whisky. Their whisky is a great deed, indeed!
ABELOUR 15 YEAR SINGLE MALT SHERRY WOOD
There is nothing that really set this whisky apart from other single malt whiskies as far as clarity, color, and what I like to call the whisky glow. Standing side by side with Johnnie Walker Gold or even the Johnnie Walker Black, the colors are almost identical.
The nose is sweet, spicy, and flowery at times. I was extremely enticed by the pleasant aroma. Even though this whisky is traditionally created using malted barley heated by peat, there is little of this in the nose. Other Speyside whiskies carry this distinctive aroma more predominately. The sherry casks used for the aging are slightly present and very inviting.
I think I discovered a favorite here! The first dram, uncut by still water, was wonderful. The aromas were all present in taste. The sweetness balanced the smoky taste superbly. I had to, of course, experiment by adding a little water to release the flavor as some might describe the process. The water worked its wonders by allowing me to taste the complexities better, even though I did not discover anything I could not taste with my first dram. I actually enjoyed the stronger, neat, whisky sample better because I liked the whisky with more smoky peat taste. This strength was cut by the water.
There is nothing, absolutely nothing unpleasant about this whisky from start to finish. The warmth that often spreads through your body was not readily present and only slowly built well after I swallowed the whisky. Going back to the strength of the taste, I would almost desire that the whisky left more of a presence as far as its warming qualities. It is hard to describe, but I guess I prefer a firm handshake from my whisky. Not a burning sensation, but a solid How are you as it goes down. This Aberlour is 40% ABV.
Aberlour definitely has a winner here (no pun intended on there many Gold Medals). This is a sweeter whisky than most I purchase, but it has its place among many of the Scotch Whisky greats. There are some that go well with cigars and others that go well with food. This is a great relaxation, after dinner whisky that all should enjoy. There are some whiskies that some beginners should try like Glenfiddich. Aberlour is also a good way for a person that does not appreciate whisky to begin to appreciate the Scottish tradition.
Most comparable Single Malt Scotch Whiskies to Aberlour (that I have had the honor of reviewing)
Aberfeldy 12 Year
Glenfiddich Special Reserve 12 Year