Though I am writing this review well before it will post, when you read it (if you’re in the US), I will have likely just finished touring Aberlour. This is set to be our last day in the Speyside on this trip to Scotland and I’ve been looking forward to visiting Aberlour in particular. I will doubtless have an image-heavy report from the distillery soon enough but in the meantime, here’s a review of an Aberlour 13 released five years ago. This was bottled by the Creative Whisky Co. for their Exclusive Malts label and was an exclusive for K&L in California. This cask is not listed on Whiskybase, by the way—the only Exclusive Malts Aberlour 2000 they have is a sibling cask that was a year younger. This is an ex-bourbon cask—which is a rare but pleasant treat from Aberlour, whose official releases all stress the sherry. I’ve quite liked the other bourbon cask Aberlours I’ve reviewed (relatively) recently and I’m hoping this will keep the streak going. Let’s get to it.
Aberlour 13, 2000 (55.1%; Exclusive Malts; cask #3077; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Lemon, honey and prickly, gingery oak. Nothing else emerges for a good while except maybe a little bit of malt. Less oak and more fruit with water
Palate: Sweet fruit (berries), oak and quite a bit of malt. On the second sip the oak and ginger are to the fore and too strong. The oak is not tannic but it overpowers the fruit and malt. Not much change with time; let’s add water. Water pushes the oak back here as well but the ginger expands instead.
Finish: Medium-long. Drying and salty as it goes. Just a bit too much oak here. Less oaky and salty and more gingery here too with water.
Comments: Well, this is over-oaked. A pity as the good stuff is all there before the oak muscles it out. Water fixes some of the problems but not enough. Well, odds are good that I will have emerged from Aberlour today with a bottle of their hand-filled bourbon cask anyway.
Rating: 83 points. (Pulled up with water.)
Thanks to Florin for the sample. He also sent a sample to Michael K. who reviewed it much closer to its release date. Our notes are not identical but he also notes the overbearing and unbalanced oak.