A beautiful location
Aberlour is a whisky distillery that is located in the picturesque village of the same name. The village sits on the banks of the River Spey in the heart of the Speyside region. It was founded in 1826 by James Gordon and is currently owned by Chivas Brothers, part of the larger Pernod Ricard beverage group. In 1879, the distillery was completely destroyed by fire and was re-built on a different site at the opposite end of the village by a wealthy local man called James Fleming.
Fleming had further massive influences on the village of Aberlour by financing the building of its town hall (which still carries his name), a cottage hospital, a school, the installation of electric street lamps and a toll bridge across the River Spey.
Numéro un en France
Aberlour is currently one of the best selling single malts in the world and is known for its use of quality sherry casks during maturation. It sits comfortably within the world’s top ten for volume of sales (7th place in 2008) and is the best selling single malt whisky in France, who consume the most whisky of any country in the world! Aberlour is also popular in the UK and southern Europe. The core range consists of this 16 years old plus a 10, 12 and 18 years old. These are joined approximately once a year by a cask strength single batch whisky named A’bunadh (pronounced a-boona). The distillery is well known and renowned for its use of top quality sherry casks during the maturation of their whisky.
For further facts and information on Aberlour, please click on our distillery visit post from last Autumn.
Our tasting notes
This Aberlour 16 years old has undergone a double cask maturation - 50% has been matured in ex-bourbon casks and 50% in ex-sherry casks, before they are married together for six months. The whisky is bottled at 43% ABV and should cost approximately £40 a bottle from specialist liquor retailers.
The colour is a lovely deep golden amber and the nose is rich, sweet and expressive. There is an immediate hit of soft dried fruits (think of raisins, sultanas, prunes and apricots) and honey. Then comes plenty of caramel, woody spices (imagine cedar wood and cinnamon) and some orange oil. Finally something floral (this is hard to pinpoint but has a petal-like aroma) comes through. The overall feeling is like a rich, sumptuous fruit cake or pudding. On the palate, this is again sweet then spicy. First comes some honey, dried fruits (especially the sultanas and raisins, with the addition of candied orange peel) and cereal grains. Then a good balance of spices - cinnamon, nutmeg and a hint of anise. Other elements present include some toasted almonds, caramel and fresh stone fruits (think of peaches, plums and apricots). The finish is long, warming and rounded. It is fruity, grainy and sweet but this is counterbalanced by some drying woodiness and pleasant wood spice.
What's the verdict?
Aberlour need congratulating for this whisky - this is a top dram. It is a good advert for the use of quality casks - the marriage of both ex-bourbon and sherry casks makes it a little more accessible than some pure sherry cask whiskies, that can often be very sweet or woody. Here, they have created all-round balance and this whisky offers a good easy drinking nature, complexity and top quality for the price.