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Aberlour 16 Year Old Double Cask

Fair is foul, and foul is fair

0 686

@WhiskyBeeReview by @WhiskyBee

21st Mar 2013

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Overall
    86

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It was a long and fractious courtship, but that feisty lass Aberlour A’bunadh and I eventually found love. Our skirmishes were Shakespearian in magnitude; she was Kate to my Petruchio, only this time the shrew tamed me. Think you a little din can daunt mine ears? Or tastebuds, as the case may be?

But love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs, and I am but a rogue and peasant slave. Yea, distracted was I by my love’s fair sibling of a fortnight and two, for from fairest creatures we desire increase.

Enough of that before the Bard dizzies himself from spinning in his grave. Suffice to say that I came to enjoy the A’bunadh so much, I wanted to try another Aberlour expression. I don’t think I’ll find romance with the 16 yo, but it’s shaping up to be a reliable friendship. This will be my fifth dram from a bottle opened about six weeks.

Nose: Earthy, oily, nutty, with traces of bitter chocolate, sherry, and malt. Floral scents come and go. It’s a rather static nose, in that it doesn’t seem to develop much as it sits, but it’s pleasant and fairly robust.

Palate: Smooth and a bit bland on arrival and in development. Vanilla and mild non-citrus fruits at first, then the sherry and bourbon oak announce themselves. It really comes alive in the finish, perhaps too much so. Like a honey graham cracker sprinkled with cinnamon, pepper, and covered with a thin layer of mint frosting. An odd, but not unpleasant combination, even as it overwhelms all that came before. The final impression, which comes a full minute after swallowing, is a rough, bitter chalkiness that doesn’t work at all. After a couple of sips, I learned to avoid this by taking a quick sip of water after the good parts of the finish had run their course.

One of the more curious aspects of Aberlour 16, therefore, is that each phase of the experience didn’t prepare me for what came next. I’d suggest just enjoying the peaks and valleys and twists and turns of this whisky as they come. It might not be the most exciting of roller-coaster rides, but it’s got some thrills along the way.

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6 comments

@hunggar
hunggar commented

Sounds like quite a roller coaster. I must admit, I want to try this now. I love the A'bunadh, as any self-respecting sherry lover should, but it seems this release paints a different picture from the same artist.

i tend to enjoy incongruous whiskies when they're done right. Spastic drams, if you will. Ones which are perhaps weak in the balance department (traditionally speaking), but strong in the "that's weird and unexpected" department. Sounds like this is right up my alley. Great review. Thanks!

8 years ago 0

@Abunadhman
Abunadhman commented

What an excellent, informative and, dare I say it, intelligent review!

This is an expression that has proved elusive here though I think I saw one in an Asian Duty Free and sadly turned my back on it - Opting, instead, for a liter of Caol Ila DE. IIRC. They were out of a'bunadh!

Slainte!

8 years ago 0

@WhiskyBee
WhiskyBee commented

@A'bunadhman - Thanks for the kind words. Have you tried any of the younger Aberlour expressions? Many seem to prefer them to the 16 yo.

Personally, I wouldn't be disappointed in your choice. I love Caol Ila, and the DE seems like a can't-miss.

8 years ago 0

@Abunadhman
Abunadhman commented

@WhiskyBee,

The 10yo. is a value dram and is as silky a 'drop' as you would ever see - I think of it as a'bunadh 'Lite' which is a bit unfair, as it stands alone as a well made sherry influenced Whisky: I would like to see the exact same 10yo. at 50% ABV. and I'm sure sparks would fly!

Only the 10yo. and a'bunadh are available in our neck of the woods; there was a silver label a'bunadh a good few years ago and it was excellent. I believe there is a 12yo. un-chillfiltered available but not around here!

Slainte!

8 years ago 0

@YakLord
YakLord commented

Excellent review! Had the good fortune to be able to try the 16 a couple of weeks ago while on a business trip (the LCBO no longer stocks it, but I could run across the river to Quebec and buy a bottle).

I agree with @A'bunadhman: the 10 is very nice value dram (it is one of my favourites). There are also two versions of the 12yr around: the older, chill-filtered one bottled at 43% ABV, and the newer, non-chill-filtered one bottled at 48% ABV. I think there is also a 15yr travel retail expression...

8 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@Whiskybee I had a sample of this year Aberlour 16 a week ago and my impression of it was the opposite of youurs from the last year version. The arrival was not bland at all, it was even harsh then the rest was all in track with a constant improvment. the finish was, on the cinnamon and the nutmeg, the best part of it. At the end, I didn't buy a bottle because I was not able to pass by the hard attack on arrival, not for the bucks this one asks in my neck of the woods (Montréal, Canada).

6 years ago 0

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