Thursday, 19 February 2015

Aultmore–Last Great Malts range

Following on from the Craigellachie set, the latest from Dewars and Sons is a bunch of Aultmores (although no prime numbers here).  These are in a range with the 12, 21, 25, 30 and 35, and I’ve got the first three here - given the cost of the 25 I doubt I’ll ever get to taste the 30 or 35.

But what a fantastic range, I’d be keen for any of these on my shelf.  The 12 is a well priced, classy glugger, the 21 a deep, complex contemplater – the 25 is a big, classy, classical whisky but sadly out of my price range.


Aultmore 12 years old, 46% A⊕

aultmore12Nose – I love noses like this, you only really seem to get them in non-single-cask single malts, and it’s what I’ve been finding so captivating with the big Glenfiddichs – I guess that’s vatting for balance.  Rich, old paper, leather, musky oak,men’s deodorant and sweet lemon wax, and that malted barley pull that grabs you by the hind-brain.  Balanced fruit, floral and classy wood.  Beautiful, and way in excess of its years.  Water (although I’m loathed to add water to something not at cask strength) doesn’t detract from the light, floral elegance and turns up the classy wood and sweetness.

Body – Behaving a bit more its age now – a little flat on the arrival and a little sour, but with building sweetness, heat and very good, clean, classy lemon wood.  Retronasally very active, with pear poached in hot wine.  Water flattens the delivery further.

Finish – Quite short, but balanced with sweet, ripe fruit and bold with lots of tannins.

What’s not good about it – Quite ordinary on the arrival.

What’s good about it – Fantastic, classy nose, great balance throughout and excellent fruit and wood.  This is a very high quality whisky and would be a lovely summer glugger.

Aultmore 21 years old, 46% A⊕

Travel retail only.

aultmore21Nose – Sweeter, riper and waxier than the 12.  That classy single malt musk and oak element I loved in the 12 is still there with some grape, almost overripe apple and rose in the nose, even some crayon.  There’s an additional roast pork note in here too – lightly swiney and meaty.  A complex, rich, deep, fruity and balanced nose.

Body – No concerns about the arrival on the 21 - clean, intense, sweet and balanced.  Fruity and wooded, developing into intense wood oils and a gentle, rounded heat. 

Finish – Long, mouth coating, rich and very sweet.  Balanced though.

What’s not good about it – Quite a bruiser – don’t expect bubble-gum sweetness.

What’s good about it – Deep, excellent wood and ripe fruit.  Complex and rewarding.

Compared to the 12, the 12 is obviously younger on the nose, but lighter, fresher and more floral, and comparing the two gives more chocolate notes for the 12.  The 21 is richer and deeper, more competent on the nose.  On delivery, that chocolate comes through more on the 12, developing into light, fruit juice and quite balanced and drinkable.  The 21 is a big, serious whisky, with lots to say and interesting and compelling to drink.  They’re very different whiskies with some great components in common.  Both are worth buying but for different occasions.  The 12 is about £40, whereas the 21 is £125 (I think – duty free only). 

Aultmore 25 years old, 46% A⊕+

aultmore25Nose – Less obvious and in your face than the 21.  This is what Glenfiddich does when it passes 18, becomes less obvious and more elegant.  Gentle, clean toffee tones, bookcase (including that old paper from the 12), stewed apple, golden syrup, suet and custard – I want to say raisins but they’re probably just in the pudding.  That toffee note is so gentle but so insistent - very well judged.

Body – Balanced and elegant, but with insistent wood, toffee, malt and tobacco – and a hint of peat, some spirit sulphur and apple juice.  Beautiful, fruity, slightly tannic.  Love the sulphur.

Finish – Gentle tannins, tropical tones and lots of wood.  Hobnobs. 

What’s not good about it – Overpriced, sadly.

What’s good about it – Balanced is the keyword with this expression.  Beautifully judged.  I love it.

I must say I really enjoyed tasting these.  Thanks to Dewars and Sons for the official samples!

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