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Aberlour 12 Year Old Double Cask Matured

Average score from 21 reviews and 77 ratings 82

Aberlour 12 Year Old Double Cask Matured

Product details

  • Brand: Aberlour
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 43.0%
  • Age: 12 year old

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@OdysseusUnbound
Aberlour 12 Year Old Double Cask Matured

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...

Tasting Notes

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.

@Nozinan Benromach 10, no contest. I hear the non-chill-filtered 12 is much better than the double matured 12 though.

@Nozinan They have totally different flavour profiles. I believe I rated Benromach 10 two points higher than this one. And I might even rate Benromach a point or two higher were I to review it today. Since being opened for about 6 months, Benromach's peaty character has become more pronounced. I've seen Aberlour 12 called "thin" here a few times. That was not at all my experience. It was quite rich and complex. Perhaps the bottle I reviewed was a good one. Maybe the Master Blender was "liberated from the shackles" of the 12 Year Old age statement and was allowed to add some older whisky to the mix. smirk

@Narcism

This is a by-the-fireplace-in-a-tweed-jacket scotch.

On the nose, the strongest notes were those of banana. Medium notes included vanilla and caramel; and light notes: nut and clove. Very soft and not aggressive.

The high notes started with some chutzpah. Strong and harsh. Oak-y, fruity (pear?), and lightly peaty. There was additional complexity beyond what I could taste. I feel like I would need to have more to have a full grasp of what's happening.

For the low notes, there was a medium tail. Nut, spice, oat and clove notes smoothly finished off this scotch.

have you tried A'Bunadh? If you like this at 40% you might indeed get a kick out of its cask strength sibling.

@hunggar

Here’s a popular one. Everyone knows Aberlour for their sherry. The A’bunadh is, for good reason, considered their pièce de résistance. But for the longest time I didn’t explore anything else from their range. Time to fix that. I’ve tried the 10, but I think the 12 is a better place to start.

Nose: Typical, pleasant sherry notes on the nose. Sultanas, big apricot, cinnamon, rum, caramel, brown sugar, red apples, red licorice, leaves.

Palate: Somewhat oily mouthfeel. Apricots, berry jam, stewed fruits, coffee, dates, unsweetened orange juice, pineapple, and bitter melon.

Finish: Medium and fruity. Apricots, dates, red apple, mango, pineapple, cinnamon, orange juice, dark chocolate, coffee, oak. An unusual bitterness counterbalances the sweetness, with rhubarb and bitter melon.

Thoughts: It’s a particularly fruity one, even by sherried standards. I like the apricot, pineapple, and chocolate notes here. However the sour notes of rhubarb and bitter melon do occasionally overwhelm the sweetness, which detracts from the balance as well as my personal enjoyment. And while it may be quite full-flavoured for a whisky at 40%, it’s still a whisky at 40%. A good dram, and a nice introduction to Aberlour’s brand of sherry, but it’s not very balanced and gets too bitter for my taste.

I remember bottled at 43% not too long ago. Now, on my last purchase I realized that it was down to 40%. Big difference, in a negative way, of course. I won't buy it again unless it's bumped up to 43% once again.

I'm in the process of ridding my cabinet of unwanted bottles and this one is on the list. I have a 43% bottle I got in 2011 when I was over enthused by all things Aberlour. I've traded away an18, am holding a 16 for trade, and will be donating this one to a charity raffle.

@Uisgebetha

Probably the weakest Aberlour I’ve tasted. How can a whisky lose character from 10 to 12 years old, unless they just foist lower grade casks onto the “travel” market. This bottle was duty free.
Nose: Dry sherry, dried fruit raisins, fruit cake, cinnamon and hint of liquorish. Taste: more sherry still dry. Very clean in the mouth with some cereal malt but a bit bland. Finish: Medium length, dryish and a touch bitter.

Argh, duty free strikes again...

@vrudy6

When I first opened it there was a over-ripen grapes flavor that was a bit overwhelming. It also contained strong bourbon notes. Over time ( at about 2/3 of the bottle), it settled and a velvety vanilla, bread pudding cake emerged with raisins,cinnamon,cinnamon, nutmeg,oak. I was surprised how much alcohol burn it had. Good, solid sherry bomb. I think its a bit overpriced.

m

Nose: Very much sherry driven with honey & grape intermingling. Vanilla oak, you get a rancio note in here as well. The barely can be distinguished from it all surprisingly. Lastly, there is some tangerine note in here also.

Palate: Light bodied. The oak is very prominent here with hints of vanilla. Slight tannins. You can really taste the barley here as well as the citrus. The sherry stays in the background and lets the oak hog the limelight too much for my taste.

Finish: Dry(tannin) but yet quite oily. Very much oak driven once again. You get hints of pine and pine nuts, citrus rinds. A little bitter & sour as well. My least favorite part of the overall experience.

Overall it's decent but not even approaching anything great. The nose is inviting but the taste and finish is rather one dimensional and over oaked. I was left thinking "Where did the sherry go?" Too much time in regular oak cask and not enough time to mature in the sherry cask perhaps?

@conorrob

I tried and reviewed the Aberlour 10 around a week ago and loved it so it only seemed right that I should meet its older brother. I was excited about this one as the bottle for me really adds a sense of occasion I felt was slightly lacking with the 10. Obviously being between £10 - £15 more than the 10 I am not expecting a greater whisky... more a refinement.

Nose:The dark chocolate I found a real delight in the 10 has disappeared. Replaced by a sweeter scent of brown sugar gently boiling... not quite caramelised but almost. Cherry appears as an afterthought and adds a nice touch to the scent. Theres something else, maybe some sort of nut (walnut?) but unfortunately my nose obviously hasn't developed enough to place it.

Palate: Wow, for me the 10 was confusing. The elements in their youth were all fighting to gain supremacy. In the 12 They have settled and decided on their prevalence. A gentle smoke tantalises as the sweetness of cherries and the brown sugar that at this point has caramelised completely.

Finish: The perfect level of finishes for me. The tongue tingles as spice enters the fray, the sweetness fades slightly. Raisins finally make a long awaited entry but not in an intrusive way. In fact I can still taste them now several minutes after finishing my dram.

I cannot fault this bottle at the price. For me its a strong favourite, nothing I have tasted quite makes me smile as much as this one. Don't get me wrong its not in my top 5 but the smile is worth so much more. Nothing would be more pleasant than a second dram but unfortunately I decided to try the 10 first to get a direct comparison. What a shame. Don't think I will ever be without a bottle of this one and must say as a double cask it walks all over the similarly priced Glenmorangie Lasanta. Can't wait to see how this bottle matures (if I can wait long enough to let it!)

A touch of water brings out the best of this dram. Just a few drops really helps it open up allowing the nose to develop and palate to soften, rounding the rough edges of this relatively young whisky and forcing it to act older.

@PMessinger
@MisterDigger

Please refer to my review of Aberlour 16, which was my first Aberlour bought.

I held off buying this one thinking that it would never be as good as the 16 year old. How wrong I was! Compared to the 16 year old, this one is unbelievably smoother. I cannot explain the subtle harshness in the 16 year old which lets it's little brother here win, but that's all right with me and my wallet! For the money, one simply cannot beat this one. However, if you are looking for a definitive single malt scotch taste, look elsewhere. This one tastes more like fine Demerara rum than scotch.

@GotOak91

I acquired a generous helping of this younger bottling of the Aberlour distillery at one of the better nearby bars in my area. (The Wooden Nickel). I was curious to see how the younger double cask stacked up to the 16 yr double cask. Anyways let us get to the good parts...

Nose: A nice mixture of fall baking spices (cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg), floral honey, red raisins and plums, and bits of vanilla. A little nice complexity (not as much as the 16 yr but still delicious).

Body: Medium-rich body. Coats the tongue relatively nicely. Little warmth.

Taste: Sherry influence in the way of red berries and plums, caramel, vanilla, and more spices. Bits of floral and nutty notes intermingle. The double cask method certainly brings complexity.

Finish: Medium length and warming. Notes of baking spices, pepper, and toffee/caramel.

Overall: A nice whisky that has a good complexity. Not as complex as the 16 yr but quite a delicious drop. A good recommended secondary step for the beginner whisk(e)y drinking enthusiast.

@SquidgyAsh

Last night I decided to crack open yet another sample from my whisky calender from Master of Malt, I was feeling nostalgic so I decided to crack open Aberlour 12 year old Double Cask Matured.

Aberlour 10 year old was one of the very first single malts that I ever tried and considering how much I love Aberlour Abunadh, you pretty much pick the batch, I was quite pleased to see a sample in my calender, especially of one I hadn't tried before.

Now the Aberlour Double Cask Matured is just what it sounds, a whisky that has been matured in two different casks. In this case traditional oak barrels and sherry barrels. And you can definitely pick up hints of the traditional oak barrels on this lovely little whisky.

I enjoyed this whisky over a lovely 90 minute period while I sat down and ate dinner with my wife, watching the new crime mystery show, Elementary.

An interesting little nose on this Speyside as the aromas waft out of the glencairn as I sit here.

You can immediately smell the sherry casks influence on this whisky with aromas of sultanas and raisins, vanilla coming off it, but there's more, as time goes on more and more the traditional oak barrels have their say, with amusingly enough toasted oak, then cinnamon, apples, hints of smoke and after about an hour or so, maple syrup all coming off the nose.

Very enjoyable.

When I take a sip it is immediately clear once again that the sherry casks have had their say, with sultanas coming through clear as day, then the oak speaks up once more as the whisky slowly goes more sweet and spicy with cinnamon, honey and vanilla all coming out. At the very end of the dram, after about an hour or so, floral notes enter into the palate, but never overpoweringly so.

A Soft fruity finish with apricots, grapes, oak and vanilla finish off the whisky and making for an enjoyable dram.

Sadly I haven't found this whisky for sell here in Perth, however I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find it running at around $80 or so AUS which isn't a bad price to pay for this whisky, as I said it was quite enjoyable and something I'd be happy to try again.

@cheeserandyburg

My first proper single malt, and what a malt it is!

Nose - citrus, bright, fruity, tangy, orangey. It reminded me faintly of grand marnier, but in a good way.

Palate - As the nose indicated, the taste was very consistent but opened up new flavors. Slight oak, woody (very mild), smooth, citrus, fruity, spicey and tangy; sweetness was coating my mouth within seconds (properly from the sherry cask) The second time around I picked up a VERY faint smokiness hiding out in the back; it tries to hide but I definitely picked it up. I know Speyside's aren't known for this, but its there.

With a dash of water, I didn't notice any improvement. On my second glass I kept it neat just like I started. Much more satisfying that way IMO.

Finish - It all goes away after a few seconds. Which is the reason you just gotta have another taste. One thing that did hang around was a peppery zing. But once that went away, nothing was left really.

Overall, being my first proper single malt whisky, I was greatly surprised. (looks like my researched paid off!)

Definitely recommended. I feel the price over here isn't justified. It's not a very complex whisky and the $55+ (CAN) tag could be brought down to $45 (CAN).

If you're looking to save some coins, try the 10 year old. Like the 12 it's also double cask at 43%, and I find they taste pretty much the same. Unfortunately recently marked up to $46, but IMO the best under $50 single malt at the LCBO.

Hey Benancio, thought I was the only one that figured it didn't take that well with water. With that said, last night I did give it another whirl with a bit more water then last time and I found it wasn't that bad. The sweetness and fruitiness came out much more then neat. I've had my eye on the Balvenie Doublewood for some time now. It was originally going to be my first malt, but we have to pay $ 73 a bottle for that here! That's why I settled on this one instead at $55.

@bvburnes

This was our selection for September's tasting. We found it to be quite enjoyable. It was rich without being brooding. It was intriguing. As other reviewer have said, there is a sweetness to it, but we found it to be well balanced. Indeed, on the nose there are aromas of spices as well as a pleasant scent of greenery of some sort; clover possibly or grass.

On the palate, we also caught a faintest of smokiness; unexpected in a Speyside. Over-all I'd call this a playful dram--coy perhaps.

@markjedi1

As the label claims, this Aberlour was finished on specially selected sherry cast, after the initial maturation period on traditional bourbon casks.

The nose is warm, sweet and dark. Some raisins, tangerines, sugar cane but mostly stewed apricots. No, make that apricot marmalade. On warm puff paste. The whole is sprinkled with some cloves and cinnamon.

The attack is rather light. On the palate, it turns a bit more spicy and the sherry takes hold. A slight nuttiness is joined by warm fruit cake. It lacks some body, though. It is almost watery.

On the rather short finish, fruit is again the high note. The dried version, I think.

This whisky is not earth shattering, but very quaffable and accessible for the lovers of sherry matured whisky. A good step up from the regular 10 Year Old. Around 42 EUR.

@Jahjehwa

I'm more of an Islay drinker as I learn more but..., from the few Speyside/highlands I have tried. this one gives enough kick and complexity to make it interesting and not overly sweet.

Nose: Malty, light sweet butterscotch, alcohol over shadows and burns any light sents for me at this time.

Taste: Again Malty, a bit pungent (which I like) Spicy, gets back into the nose quickly. NOt at all as sweet as it smells but it has a good balance.

Finish: pepper and alcohol, lingers a short while.

@chrisrbarrett

Nose is very sweet at first approach. Cane sugar and over-ripe pear turning to more perfume-y floral smells. First taste is hot. More alcohol burn. Not showing very well after just being opened. Reminder to revisit this bottling later!

Hey thanks, I'm shortly becoming a fan of Aberlour, for I am commonly Hearing great reviews. How is this in comparison to The Balvenie Double wood 12.? For this is a favorite of mine that I have actually tasted.

Have tried all the Aberlours... the best one for me is Abunadh... the rest of them are not a shade on this...imho...

@talexander

To celebrate crossing $1M box office in Canada on Of Gods And Men (and again to celebrate the same benchmark on Midnight In Paris, though we added Champagne for that one!), my office dipped into this excellent Scotch. A deep mahogany, with rich, sherry like (due to maturation in sherry casks) aroma, and hints of chocolate, this did the trick as a celebratory Scotch on a late Friday afternoon. Very woody; a few drops of water unleashed a creamy, sweet candy undertone, followed by a not-too-strong finish.

Great review and congrats on Of Gods and Men and Midnight In Paris. I also work in the film industry here in the UK - it seems like film and whisky are very compatible obsessions!

Hmmm.....more like film and alcoholism are compatible obsessions - but yes, I agree!

@jwise

This is the core expression in the Aberlour range, delivering the best bang for the buck. It is a 43% ABV double cask matured whisky which has spent part of its time in ex-bourbon casks and the other in ex-sherry butts. This combination gives a depth of character and sherry sweetness Aberlour is known for.

Nose: Caramelized sugar! Powdered sugar, fruitcake, and apricot jam. The cinnamon spice that was prominent in the 16yr is noticeably gone. There are just some traces of cloves, but the cinnamon is nowhere to be found. The nose would suggest that this expression from Aberlour is going to be seriously lacking for spice junkies.

Body: It holds up, but comes across a tad on the watery side. Without the spices that build in the 16 and 18 yr expressions, this whisky just feels weaker in the mouth.

Palate: Ok, a bit of spice, but mostly just a sherry sweetness washes over the tongue. There are some pleasing notes of marmalade, dried fruits, and a hint of macadamia nuts.

Finish: Not too long, but not short. I guess that makes it medium? Some spice comes out, but it is not very powerful. The marmalade comes out strong: orange marmalade. Dried mango and pineapple. Delicious, really. There is just a bit of maltiness, but it is not a primary player.

For $34 a bottle, this has to be one of the greatest whiskies ever. It may not bowl you over with its smoothness, its palate complexity, or its long, powerful finish, but it is VERY drinkable, delivering a profile that is sweet (but not too sweet) and just a little spicy, culminating in a very pleasant finish.

If anyone out there is looking for a good "everyday" whisky at a good price, you owe it to yourself to pick up a bottle of this honey of a whisky and give it a go! You won't regret it.

@noodlexyz

I picked up this bottle without doing too much research on it (I usually take my time and do my homework to find a great drink)and man, did I wish I did my homework on this one! Its very hard to get a good nose out of this scotch due mostly from what I can tell to its high alcohol aroma that completely overpowers everything except for the sweet smell of brown sugar. The palate starts out very sweet again with the brown sugar out front transitioning into an apple and pear like fruitiness. The lack of sherry though is disappointing.

Up to now, even though the nose and ect. was disappointing I'm still enjoying this scotch but it is in the finish that it really loses what I gained up front. This particular scotch finishes very harsh, there is no real transition from the sweet fruit to the oak and smoke finish and the alcohol bites very hard in between. This would makes it hard to enjoy for the casual drinker and for the more experienced there are better scotches out there for the same price with more balance and complexity.

Overall I would not personally buy it again but if someone is looking for a very sweet scotch this one might not be a bad choice for the price.

I totally agree with noodlexyz's review. I did give Aberlour 16 year a try...wow! A very rich sweet scotch. The extra few years really make a difference, you should give it a try.

Did you add a dash of water while you were tasting? I found this to open up slightly more of the complexities of this Aberlour.

@BDeVries

Once I got past the maltiness and sweet sherry in the nose (and truly there isn’t an obstructive amount of either) I found some surprisingly light, citrusy notes, with grapefruit in the lead.

The body’s soft and smooth, so smooth I found that some flavors keep slipping past analysis. But once I caught up, I noted lemon peel, apricot, and maple syrup, although I could be influenced by the color on that last one.

Michael Jackson tends to characterize many Aberlour Scotches as having a “cookie-like” taste and I also found hints of baked goods in my glass. I would compare it to the little flakes that accumulate on top of a batch of slightly overdone brownies – not trying to nitpick, just aiming for specificity here.

But this burnt note brings me to the bitter: as sweet as I’ve made this whisky out to be, I did find some bitterness in the finish. Notes of black licorice and peach pit, which would be a fine way to round out this dram, if only the finish was more drawn out. Which is what I found this Aberlour lacks generally; a finish that doesn’t allow the drinker to appreciate some really excellent, complex flavors.

Still quite good for the price though. And very appropriate for after dinner.

If I had a breakfast scotch (and I swear I don't), this would be it. There are so many different candied bits in there and they all seemed to be covered with chocolate malt. I agree completely about the finish. Try it with a sharp cheddar and it really brings out the apple/pear flavors.

@Anonymous

I like to poor strait to the glass and start enjoying. This has always worked well for me. I sit down with my dram and enjoy the evening. I did this with my Aberlour 12 yr Dbl Cask. My first impressions were not that favourable. I found it be a little bit too bold. There was a strong iodine in the finish that I tend to associate (some times in error) with a more inexpensive scotch. Don't get me wrong it was nice. There were some very pleasant aromas from the oak and the sherry was coming through. The fruitiness was there but it was being over shadowed by the strong alcohol.

While surfing the great interweb I stumbled accross singlemalt.tv. More importantly Alex Robertson's bit on tasting Aberlour scotch. Until now I have always seen adding water to scotch as being very gauche. But hey if the International Brand Ambassador for Aberlour is adding water then there must be some merit to the practice.

By just adding a small amount of distilled water to the mix all the aromas are able to flourish. The sweet, fruity, honey aromas fill my nose. The buttery richness flows on my tongue. It's like drinking a whole new scotch. Beautiful, Thank you Alex Robertson for opening my eyes, and nose.

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