Aberlour 11, Oloroso, Distillery Exclusive

The week in sherry cask reviews began on Monday with a 6 yo Amrut. here now is an Aberlour that is almost twice as old and was matured in an oloroso cask. This was a cask available exclusively at the distillery earlier this year. There was also a bourbon cask. That was also 11 years old and bottled at the same strength—which seeming coincidence suggests these may not actually be bottled at cask strength. Aberlour distillery exclusives are not something you can count on purchasing if you visit the distillery. My old-time whisky readers—if more than one or two still remain—will remember my bemoaning the lack of any exclusives when I visited the distillery in 2018 (though I did enjoy the tour itself). This one, alas, was not purchased in person by me—I’ve not managed to get back to Scotland since 2018 (though I do have dreams of doing so in 2023). I was. however, pleased to have an opportunity to try it via a bottle split. It’s been a while since I’ve tried a heavily sherried Aberlour and so I am looking forward to it.

Aberlour 11, Oloroso, Distillery Exclusive (49.4%; from a bottle split)

Nose: Raisins, toffee, caramel, toasted oak. More red fruit as it sits. With time the oak backs off and its get sweeter and stickier. Not too much change after that. With a few drops of water some of that oak spice shows up in the nose as well; a fair bit of cinnamon in particular.

Palate: Comes in with cherry and oak. Decent bite at 49.4%, probably on account of the oak impact; slightly thin texture. More citrus on the second sip (lemon peel) and more oak spice and tannins. A few minutes later the oak is a little less talkative and the cherry and citrus merge. As it sits though the tannins re-emerge. Okay, let’s see what water does for it. Well, it makes the oak less tannic but it’s still all about the oak, which is more sour now.

Finish: Long. The oak is the story here, a little tannic, quite spicy. Less tannic and more dusty with time. Still all about the oak with water.

Comments: This started out well but then got too oak-forward for my taste. I’d guess the sherry casks in question were re-charred hogsheads or similar. It’s far from unpleasant though and those who are more oak-tolerant may like it more. It’s just not one to sit with for a long time.

Rating: 84 points.



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