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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.

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.

That's unfortunate, a dud from Aberlour. I have only been happy with all expressions I've tried


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.

Must try this, I'm a big A'b fan but the 48% on this may be a nice change. The 18yo as smooth as it is lacks a bit of power for my taste buds. Thanks for the review.

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