This is an exerpt of a blog post I wrote awhile back. I can't believe I never shared it here
If you're close to my age, you undoubtedly remember the Nintendo game "Mike Tyson's Punch-Out". The premise was fairly simple; you played as "Little Mac", a diminutive yet plucky young pugilist who was determined to be a champion. Under the tutelage of trainer Jerome "Doc" Louis, you fought your way through the ranks, challenging boxers from three different circuits until you faced the ultimate champion: Kid Dynamite himself, "Iron" Mike Tyson. The game even included an inspiring 1980s training montage each time the player beat a circuit champion. Aside from the not-so-subtle racism, it was a great game.
So why am I waxing nostalgic over a video game? Glad you asked. Moderately-priced single malt scotch or "entry-level" malts remind me of the four foot seven, one hundred and seven pound Little Mac. People underestimate them, pass them by in favour of pricier offerings, mistakenly believing that price equals quality. This could not be further from the truth. There are some pricey whiskies that fail to impress just as there are moderately-priced whiskies that punch well above their weight, just like Little Mac. How does Aberlour 12 Year Old do this? Let's see...
Aberlour 12 Year Old is bottled at a moderate 40% ABV (the bottle I had. I've seen some listed at 43%), but I still recommend you let it sit in your glass for 10 minutes or so to let it open up and breathe. Just do it. You'll thank me later.
- Nose (undiluted): Cinnamon, toffee, dried dark fruits,vanilla, oak, apple, it smells like Christmas.
- Palate (undiluted): Very rich mouthfeel, sherry, buttery toffee, cinnamon, vanilla, raisins, nutmeg, brown sugar, cherry notes, very moreish
- Finish: Medium length, sweet vanilla, toffee, a little spicy nutmeg with hints of chocolate cherries
I don't recommend adding water to this whisky. Doing so allows a bit more fruitiness to come through, but Aberlour 12 isn't bold enough to require water. Diluting tends to tone down the richness a bit, and the richness is one of the things I love best about this whisky. But hey, do what you like.
Aberlour 12 Year Old sells for about $65 here in Ontario. That's not a lot of money for a scotch this good. This malt easily outperforms many whiskies that sell for $20 to $30 more. Their ten year-old is very good, but this twelve is only about three bucks more and I find the difference in flavour and complexity striking. Your mileage may vary. I highly recommend this to "noobs" and veterans alike. A pleaser for all palates.
How would this rate next to say the Benromach 10? That's about the same price and very flavourful.
I had bought a bottle of this in 2011 when it was at 43%. Never gotaround to opening it so passed it along to someone who would appreciate it more.
I've tried the 10,12,16 and 18 and found them weak (not anaemic though maybe less red) next to A'Bunadh.
Nowadays I wonder if I might appreciate them more, as my palate develops.
I have a sample of the 12 non-chill filtered, I may have to give it a go...
@OdysseusUnbound Nice review, it's good to see some of the under-appreciated malts get some love. If you like the profile, the Aberlour core range is very nice, I am always surprised after I take a break from it how enjoyable they can be, yes even at low strength. The 12 is a solid example of this. That said I am definitely curious about trying that Unchillfiltered version.