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.