In the past we have already tried this sherry monster version of Aberlour: it is a no age statement whisky, but it’s not the result of recent fashions. The distillery, in the lovely homonymous village in the heart of Speyside, is releasing this bottling since more than ten years: it comes fully matured in ex-sherry first fill casks, unreduced and uncolored. This is a recent batch, # 49.
N: dear, old sherry monster: despite the ABV, the alcohol is not repulsive – it rather seems to ‘close’ the perceptions. But (we need to be clear) we still find ourselves in a context of great intensity. It seems really ‘sticky’: berries macerated in alcohol, cherry liqueur; chocolate (Ferrero’s “Mon Cheri”); caramel, apple chips; confetti. It looks very ‘sweet’; the malt is practically unrecognizable. A warm sense of chopped wood in the sun, and also some menthol, herbs, eucalyptus. With water, a citrusy side (orange, marmalade) definitely emerges, and the malty side of Aberlour (like a nice biscuit) finally comes out as well.
P: without water it is really extreme, with an explosive intensity. Alcohol is in the frontline, with a background of hot-spicy and balsamic notes, rather impressive at first. After that, we find red fruits and chocolate, but also biscuit, malt and wood come back. It is not as sweet as we expected. With water, it becomes more malty and even a little more ‘bitter’: dark chocolate and herbaceous. Lots of spices: cloves uber alles.
F: the malty and bittering notes prolonge (especially if adding water): a play between dark chocolate, tannins and a mere sense of red fruit.
This version of Aberlour has always been one of our favorites: a textbook sherry monster, as always. Batch # 49 reveals a phenomenal sweetness on the nose, with notes of red fruit and marked ‘sweetness’. However on the palate a game (or a fight?) takes place, between the sweetness, a bitter note and a woody / vegetable note: the last two take revenge, until victory. 85/100 is the verdict.
Recommended soundtrack: Death – Suicide Machine.