The 12 year-old Aberlour Highland Single Malt expression is a fine example of how the distinctively crisp, citrus character of Aberlour’s new distillate is deftly softened by double cask maturation. Traditional Oak and seasoned Sherry butts are both used to great effect, as the mellowed spirits within are combined to deliver a subtly balanced flavour.
Aberlour is always a good choice – one of the best value Speyside malts around. This double matured version is a mix of traditional oak and sherry casks and is rich and fruity with delicious Christmas cake notes. The fantastic and always popular Aberlour matured in both traditional oak and sherry casks, now bottled at 40% abv.
Fruity with a ton of red grapefruit, cape gooseberry, kiwi, and decadent refined honey. Very floral as well, with a heady cloud of lemon verbena and honeysuckle. All of the fruits seem fresh and tart as opposed to the usual Aberlour dark red and black fruits. This is downright summery.
Syrupy body. Honey again, with almost no tongue burn at all. Dried apricots and golden figs replace the tart fruits from the aroma. There is a faint layer of oakiness, mostly with notes of cinnamon and vanilla.
Medium-short. The finish is a little muddled. The fruit notes are not clear, and the spicy oak notes are now marred with slightly acrid bitterness. Ends somewhat quickly, without evolving. This situation improves with further sips, which build up a little more sweetness to balance the bitterness.
A few drops of water mix up the fruits and flowers on the aroma – making them harder to place. The palate seems thinner, but the finish has more fruit. I would probably skip the water, since I liked the aroma so much in the first place.
Despite the low ABV, I would not call this watery or lacking in potency. The aroma is lovely and deeply perfumed, the palate competent and well-composed, but the finish is an outright disappointment. That said, the price is dead on and I don’t feel like the 40% ABV is unduly low in this case. I do think Balvenie DoubleWood 12 edges this one out in terms of polish and overall delivery, but if the Aberlour is significantly cheaper in your area then it’s probably a better buy.