Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Review / Aberlour 14 years old Double Cask Matured

This is a new whisky that is the latest to enter the core range of single malts of the popular Speyside distillery of Aberlour. The Aberlour 14 years old Double Cask Matured has undergone a double maturation process (as the name suggests, haha) with a minimum age of 14 years. First the whisky has been matured in ex-bourbon barrels from Kentucky, USA and then in ex-Oloroso sherry casks from Jerez, Spain. This process was overseen by Graeme Cruickshank, the Master Distiller at Aberlour, and his cask selection team. The whisky will be a constant bottling in the core range but created and released in small batches. Our bottle is from Batch 0002.

The Aberlour distillery is located in the picturesque Speyside village of the same name. The village sits on the banks of the River Spey and the distillery was founded in 1879 by James Fleming, a wealthy local business man who also paid for numerous other buildings and services for the village including the first supply of electricity and the village's hospital - this is still open today and carries his name. 

Aberlour distillery. © Whisky For Everyone Ltd.

Aberlour is currently owned by Chivas Brothers, part of the larger Pernod Ricard group who took over the distillery in the 1970s. It has an annual production capacity of 3.8 million litres, although plans are submitted for a major upgrade and expansion. Aberlour sits comfortably within the Top 10 in terms of worldwide single malt sales and market share, being particularly popular in France and the USA.

The Aberlour 14 years old Double Cask Matured is bottled at 40% ABV and will cost around £50/ €57/ $69 US. It will be available in specialist retailers and selected supermarkets globally.

Our tasting notes

The colour is golden amber and the nose has a lovely sweetness and richness to it. Aromas of brown sugar, caramel and heather honey mingle with some dried fruit (think of raisin, sultana and candied orange peel especially) initially. Then a hint of ripe brambles comes through along with a good pinch of baking spice (imagine cinnamon and all-spice in particular) and a distinct oat-like quality.

On the palate this whisky has an immediate softness and mouthcoating feel. The sweetness and richness from the nose drives this and comes through in the form of sugary set honey, toffee and a background hint of salted caramel. There is also plenty of vanilla and a distinct note of green apple that underpins everything else. Also underlying is that oaty cereal note from the nose - this has the feel of oatcakes and malted biscuits, and gives good structure to the whisky. 

The next layer to develop is that of the dried fruits, which again follows the raisin/sultana/candied orange track of the nose. Hints of bramble jam, milk chocolate and baking spices (cinnamon and all-spice again, plus a suggestion of nutmeg and mace also) add further depth and complexity.

The finish is of decent length. The sweetness and richness stretch things out as the individual elements begin to fade - first the honey/toffee, then the green apples, then the dried fruit notes and finally the cereal and baking spice characteristics.

What's the verdict?

The Aberlour 14 years old Double Cask Matured is a very pleasant single malt that offers plenty to the drinker. The layers of aromas and flavours build up and the results are delicious. This whisky would be the perfect introduction for someone to the richer style/sherry cask style of whiskies and to what Aberlour do. It has a lovely level of richness and sweetness without going too far in either direction, plus a soft and gentle mouth feel. 

It is a whisky that makes it easy to see why Aberlour is so popular to a wider audience. We will be interested to see if the batches vary in profile as time goes on, but suspect the aim will be to keep it as similar as possible so as to cater for the mass market. Another good new whisky for 2021, and we are only at the start of March.


Greg Beaulieu said...

I just purchased a bottle of the 12 year old Aberlour Double Cask Matured and I was disappointed, having quite liked the 16 in the past. It really suffers from being bottled at 40%abv and has a thin, watery taste. I would be interested to see if 2 extra years of maturation changes things very much.

TopWhiskies said...

Sounds like a good dram. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Cheers, Ed

Anonymous said...

£50 for 40% and chill filtered, I'll pass....

Anonymous said...

Couldn’t agree more. Really disappointed. Hints of nice flavours but really watered down or diluted. Such a shame as something of 14 years should be a strong flavoured dram

Anonymous said...

Yep you’re on the money. Just wrong really. Why put some much into something for 14 years only to rip all of the decent flavours out of it to make it 40%. My advice, having bought a bottle, would be to look elsewhere

Anonymous said...

Terribly disappointing to say the least. Watery and something about it even tasted off to me like it was half built with a synthetic whisky alternative. Thought I was maybe having a bad day and my taste buds were off but successive attempts yielded nothing but an aversion. I tried, Lord I tried with it but I’ve now put it away in the cupboard out of sight, out of mind and am waiting for someone to wrong me so I can give it to them.

el toro said...

batch 0004 was georgeous.