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Leave this one alone in your glass for about 15 minutes. It almost seems to thicken up in that time. You won't be disappointed. Holy Mother of Malt, the Aberlour 18 is one superb dram! A cha cha cha!
Nose: Vanilla bean goodness; Perfect balance of fruit compote, malt, and an orange blossom honey atmospheric cradle that holds it all together.
Palate: Sweet red apples, sherry fullness, macadamia nuts, vanilla bean creaminess.
Finish: Cereal complexity that exudes dates, toffee, and sherry decadence.
I returned a bad bottle of Highland Park today and bought the Aberlour 18 with my store credit, along with a cigar. I felt a longing to buy another bottle of the HP18, but I was gun shy due to the bad experience. I just love HP 18, but it was at the same store where I ended up with a bottle that allegedly had cork rot.
At least that's what the manager told me was wrong with the bottle. I don't blame Highland Park. Accidents happen. Still, I don't think it was cork rot. I think it was a quality control issue in the batch I ended up with. But, still, I don't fault Highland Park. I've been buying HP18 for years and the quality was great every time but lately. The nose of that bottle smelled like a cheap bourbon. That's what I thought and that's what the manager of the liquor store reported upon smelling it (without my mentioning it). From my experience, cork rot is more of a mossy, sharp smell that reminds me of mildew and tastes mildewy as well.
At any rate, all that's water under the bridge. I will eventually try another bottle of HP 18, and I'm sure I won't be disappointed. Lightening rarely hits the same person twice, but when it does, it almost never hits in the same sad sack in the exact same place on earth.
In the meantime, I am really enjoying the Aberlour 18. It's not quite as satisfying (to my palette) as the HP 18 (when HP 18 is at its best) but it's damn near close, yet in a different fruitier less smoky/carmelly way. I could be happy as a clam with a good bottle of HP 18 and a good bottle of Aberlour 18 in my cabinet, along with a bottle of Talisker 18. That would be my perfect "triptych," so to speak.