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Aberlour 12 Year Old Non Chill-Filtered

Average score from 3 reviews and 12 ratings 83

Aberlour 12 Year Old Non Chill-Filtered

Product details

  • Brand: Aberlour
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 48.0%
  • Age: 12 year old

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Aberlour 12 Year Old Non Chill-Filtered

As I make my way through last year’s whisky advent calendar, I am reviewing samples and minis I have collected and neglected over the years to compare and contrast. I just reviewed the Aberlour expression, and it was such a traumatic experience I needed something to redeem it.

I picked up a 50 cc sample of this from Fine Drams in 2015 when I had an order shipped to a friend in the US. This was an add-on because I head heard about it (and it was not available in Ontario) and was excited to try it. But then, waiting for the right time set in. I think 4.5 years is long enough to wait.

This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.

Nose: 21.5/25

Right away I can tell there is some depth to this nose. I get the sherry, but it seems layered. There is a freshness, fruitiness. Certainly not as bold as an A’Bunadh, though, and the sherry note seems to fade with time. Not a bad nose. Water brings back the sherry notes, and I get some dried fruits, a hint of prunes. (22/25)

Taste: 21.5/25

Light on first sip. More body on the subsequent tastes. Thick mouthfeel. A little spirity. On further exploration there is some cherry, dark fruits, pepper on the development. Quite decent. With water I get a hint of leather or tobacco or both (I have tasted neither in real life to my knowledge) and it becomes more complex. (22/25)

Finish: 22/25

Tannins, a little astringent. The pepper trails off.

Balance: 21.5/25

Nicely balanced between the nose and palate. I would have preferred a little more power on the nose and a little more complexity on the palate.

I tried it after a tiny bite of Montezuma 100% Cocoa dark chocolate (nothing added, no sugar, nothing). No difference.

Score: Neat - 86.5/100 With Water: 87.5 /100

This is pretty good. Not sure I would buy a bottle of it (if I could) because I have a lifetime supply of A’Bunadh which I prefer to this expression. But if offered at a party I would be quite inclined to accept.

@Nozinan This one is a big step up on the regular 12YO which is a bit of a weakling from my one and only experience. I wish we could get the 48% non-chillfiltered version here. Good, comprehensive review. Thanks.


After reading good reviews, I was looking forward to this bottle. I thought surely being un-chill filtered and bottled at 48% abv, and coming from a reputable distillery, would make for a happy experience.

First impressions: without water - heavily sherried nose.

Taste: Sweet entry, licorice notes, complex multi layered quality single malt. I liked it at first, seemed promising. Consequent pours though, showed a closed up character in terms of nose and taste.

​After 6 months, added a teaspoon of water. After 30 minutes in the glass: Nose: heavy sherry, alcohol, mineral note, stewed red apple, oak,honey. Taste: entry is sweet and spicy, followed by mild bitterness, licorice. Finish: long, oily and sweet, some spice, with a dying drying effect on the tongue. And that's as good as it got.

After another 6 months or so: ​nose - sherry with an underlying apple sweetness. Taste - flat watery taste, sherry, spice. Finish - spicy apple sweetness. Tasted dead.

It took me a year to assess this bottle. It was a completely disappointing and uneventful single malt. The complexity I experienced at first pour never came back. I had hoped it was a sign of positive things to come, but no. Oxidizing didn't help this at all. I still have half a bottle full. The only conclusion I can arrive at, is that it is a bad batch.

You got me. 5:31 PM on the 336th day of some year.

But here's the text transcribed for the sake of Googlers, just in case anyone else out in the world wide whisky web is searching for batch info: LKPG 4694 336 17:31

Wow. Must be a really bad batch or a badly mishandled bottle. I only ever had this one once and recall thinking it was very good and almost a poor man's substitute for A'Bunadh. I would have scored it well into the high 80s.


Color: amber.

Nose: orange zest and red delicious apples with a hint of vanilla. Subtle but quite nice.

Body: same creamy fullness I expect from Aberlour.

Palate: oaky toffee sweetness with a good deal of peppery cinnamon spice. Quite good and very satisfying.

Finish: long, warm, and spicy, with a lingering aftertaste of chocolate covered raisins and bananas. I think I might like this finish more than the A'bunadh.

I'd been craving Aberlour but wanted to try something other than the A'bunadh, and this was $10 cheaper. I was not disappointed. This is a fantastic whisky. The lightness of the nose belies the punch of the spirit. This is a powerhouse 12-year. If you like Aberlour, I suspect you'll like this.

Great Review. I love Aberlour. I've only had the 12yr DC and the 16yr DC. I haven't had the glory of having this or the A'bunadh. Yet. Anyway.

I like this better than the A'bunadh.

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