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Aberlour 18 Year Old

Average score from 8 reviews and 24 ratings 89

Aberlour 18 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Aberlour
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 43.0%
  • Age: 18 year old

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First Vapor: Extinguishing smoke of a cherry-vanilla candle.

Nose: Butterscotch is most apparent at first. Given several minutes, rich marzipan and orange zest come to dominate for the main theme. Repeated inhaling brings a background of hazy vanilla with red grape flesh.

Palate: Sweet orange & strawberry entrance, becoming nutmeg-y orange rind with honey and plum, and fading to vanilla milk with red apple.

Finish: Simultaneous feeling of meaty orange and toffee cereal with cream. Medium length and never getting too bitter.

A wonderful treat and a worthwhile big step up from the 10 in terms of both smoothness and richness. (If the 10 is a "primer", this could be the "Prime".) Sweet in character but never getting too sweet, the flavors nearly meet my expectations for such a sherry treated malt. From this shade of a whisky, I could only ask for more vanilla and pitted fruit character on the palate (apricot or cherry).


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.

Mine started out great but then became almost undeniable toward the end. I saved it by mixing it into a homemade "vatted" malt blend.

I hope your bottle stays magnificent! mine certainly started out that way.


I received the Aberlour 18 and was delighted right off - but within 30 minutes was stunned with some of the most tasty complex scotch I have experienced. OK, that isn't saying very much since I have limited experience but I have been very disappointed in HP18, 12 and Glen Fiddich 15 - plus I have been delighted with Ardbeg Uigeadail and Laph 3Wood. Indeed, right from the start I knew I was onto some very decent quality and it grew from there. I can state some "floral notes in the finish" which is the most advanced I have been for tasting.

These Aberlours are really dense and they taste GREAT right off the bat - no waiting around - no "sour/off" smell and taste - just thick and yummy.

I highly recommend the 18y - it is very different and, frankly, I think perhaps more flavorful than the A'bunadh.

I am sure there is a lot more to come here but at least I wanted to put out a positive to anyone thinking about buying - I will stake my meaningless credibility on it that you will not be disappointed.

@dbk - Thanks. As is evident, this is all very new to me - I get excited - and perhaps disappointed - maybe a little too easily. Ultimately, I will mature with more experience and bring to bear something meaningful - I look forward to that process. I have found that Scotch is a sort of many splendored experience. The tastes of today are not necessarily the same of tomorrow - some seem more consistent than others. I remember a small bit of disappointment with the Laph Triple Wood after I just received it. However, after a few weeks, it has settled into my go-to scotch - totally consistent and quality. Victor has shared with me the benefit of letting the scotch air a bit - and in this instance I think a couple weeks worked wonders.

Just a follow up - I have decided, as a complete newbie, that it is appropriate to work my way half way through a bottle before venturing a review to make certain I have half a clue what I am talking about. My on-going experience with Aberlour 18y has generally been quite consistent - Victor noted smooth and I agree - while the HP18 has definitely gotten better from the initial opening, I notice there is still a bit of a bite there whereas I don't notice that with the AB18. Oddly, the Ardbeg Uigeadail seems to have lost a lot of the initial sweetness and sorted of descended into a smoke filled abyss.... I hope that changes since that the sherry power was what I enjoyed and smoke only minimally. I do not especially notice smoke with the Ab18 - the sweetness has been maintained.


My favourite of all the whiskies we sampled - it's the 3rd Aberlour I've tried and I love them all. Strong legs, dark amber colour, like rum. Slightly peaty nose (and wet hay), with raisins, dates and nutmeg. Some peat on the palate, good mouthfeel, currants, sherry, charred wood. Long, spicy, deep finish. Absolutely awesome.

Yes, the Aberlour 18yr is a fantastic dram! I am actually sipping on a glass right now. It is probably one of the best "bang for your buck" whiskies out there. I compare it with Mac 18yr, at 2/3 the price.


According to the distillery, their 18 Year Old Aberlour is the flagship of the range. It is supposed to be the ultimate expression of Aberlour, with a perfect structure. Sounds enticing. We’ll find out right away. It has a wonderful colour and beads beautifully.

The nose is nicely soft and sweet. Yes, this is great. Honey, apricots, orange (peel included), dark grapes, almond cake and even a touch of eucalyptus. A whiff of smoke completes the picture. Wonderfully complex nose.

Very mouthcoating and almost creamy (but not quite), sweet and heavily spiced. Sweet malt, dark fruits (dried plums and apricots, preserved sultanas), licquorice and some mint. Leather. Again, the cake. Quite some punch for only 43%.

The finish is bittersweet, nicely balanced and lasts quite long.

This is really good stuff. The perfect dram for pastries or other desserts. A big thanks to my friend Bart for the sample.

I've been underwhelmed the last couple of times I've tried it. I love the nose, but it seems to have developed a bitterness since I put it in a smaller bottle to avoid oxidation, and the palate seems to have deteriorated.

Sounds great- have added to my wishlist. Have never seen this one on display anywhere.


This is faultless, excellent Whisky. Absolutely exquisite on the palate, melt in the mouth flavors, oranges, toffee, parchment, gentle oak and smoldering light smokiness that swirls and vaporizes with a hint of sherbet finish.

Choose this over Highland Park 18yo, hands down, lighter and smoother, and a contender for the Highland Park 21yo at half the price. A drop of water simply expands the dram and lengthens the pleasure but great with or without.

Thanks Gents - you input is very helpful - inc. not leaving decanted very long. I have been hesitant to put anything back into the bottle once it has come out for fear of damaging the existing contents. Is that fear somewhat unnecessary as long as the transition is clean?

@Victor - I noticed that you had some Laphroaig 18 in your cabinet. I was similarly dissatisfied with my Laph Triple wood compared to my original restaurant experience. I suspect the same facts may hold here and I will give it a try.

BTW - it was the Laph 3wood that really pushed me over the bluff - I had a MaCallan Cask strength on Christmas Eve and was suitably impressed to be open to further review - and the the Laph a couple weeks ago - now I am $600 poorer but well stocked. I thank the Gents at "ForPeatSake" to help me stock my cabinet and the A'bunadh #38 and Uigeadail have been marvelous indeed (a colleague bought my A'bunadh bottle right away from me for a weekend party after just a wee tasting...). It seems quality in scotch as in women - depending on the characteristic one is seeking - is fairly universally accessible...

I guess I need to get a decanter!


@greglog,@ victor, I agree with victor that quite a lot of whiskies need some aerating time to develop their full aroma by getting in contact with the oxygen. For a tasting I wanted to have a Lagavulin 16 in the flight which was unopened and I decanted it into a large wine decanter for a couple of days and the effect was astonishing. @Greglog,give your HP 18/12 a little more time and you will be rewarded for sure as the whole HP range delivers excellent quality. The development over time; the opening of the whisky in the glass is the same thing - my experience is the denser and richer the aromas in a whisky are (peat/smoke/sherry etc.)the more time the whisky needs to fully develop it´s flavour profile.


This is one of my favorite single malts. A super smooth whisky with a outstanding and balanced finish of vanilla, citrus, peach and butterscotch. It has a almost perfect structure. The color is dark golden.

JP - I note that this is your only review here - and you gave a 90. I would see that as your "top" score which would match with your comments. This should assure anyone considering trying a scotch that Ab18 is a great place to start and use as a measure of what is desirable in a scotch.

Yes I agree with jwise. The A'Bunadh is a real sherry "monster" and completely different compared to the 18 yo. I have both the 23 and the 24 batch of the A'Bunadh and it is amazing. I highly recommend it!

Sláinte from Norway

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