Aberlour 16

Aberlour 16The venerable Speyside distillery, Aberlour is most popular among the whisky geeks for the OCD-friendly A’bunadh range, released in batches (now up to the mid-high 40s). While the A’bunadhs are young, cask-strength sherry bombs, Aberlour also release a number of more user-friendly age-stated malts in their core range and these are as elegant as they are approachable. At least, the old ones are–they recently refreshed some parts of their line and I’ve not tried the new entries. But if you find the Aberlour 12, 43%–and you might well find it in the low-mid $30s–there aren’t very many better mellow sherried whiskies in that price range. And the same is true for this Aberlour 16, which I last tasted some years ago and was very pleased to make the acquaintance of again for this review. Both are double matured in bourbon and sherry casks (I’m not sure of the particulars of the maturation periods/proportions).

Aberlour 16 (43%; double matured in bourbon and sherry casks; from a sample received in a swap)

Nose: Juicy notes of raisins, oranges and milk chocolate; just a lick of smoke, a touch of brine. Everything’s really integrated very well. More bright citrus with time. With even more time it gets spicier: some nutmeg, some cinnamon.

Palate: Again, this is a regulation sherried malt in the Highland style. The flavours are very much as promised by the nose and not a million miles from the Glenmo Sonnalta. This might be simultaneously sweeter more citrussy, and there’s also a dusty note here. Less bitterness here for sure.

Finish: Medium. Lingering citrus and finally some oaky bite (not a whole lot).

Comments: While they’re not identical it’s hard to pick between this and the Glenmorangie Sonnalta in some ways. This is better balanced, if less complex. Neither is one you’d want or need to spend a lot of time with but this one’s probably more of an easy drinking malt. I finished it alongside a small square of 80% chocolate and it went really well with that.

Rating: 85 points.

Thanks to Alex S. for the sample!

6 thoughts on “Aberlour 16

  1. Thanks for the review. I like the 18yr more because it has a more complex and slightly bitter finish that balances the sweetness and makes me want another sip. I’ve found it to be hard to find in the U.S., though. It’s about 50% more expensive than the 16yr, so it may not be worth it for most, but it’s not much more expensive than Sonnalta was.

    I spoke to a U.S. sales representative about its availability, and I’m not sure they’re importing much of it to the U.S. anymore. My impression was that it was one large trial batch that was imported a while ago but maybe nothing again since.

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  2. I haven’t tried the 18–will keep an eye out for it. I’m also looking forward to trying the Aberlour 12 at 48% at some point; it seems a little overpriced right now.

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  3. I have a sealed bottle of the 18, and I’d love to give it up. At cost. It’s sister bottle was ok initially but became almost undrinkable after a few monts open.

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