I recently had the chance to try a sample of the upcoming Toronto Whisky Society bottling. More on that in the future. Far into the future. Unless you ask or are part of it, then you’ll find out.
When people talk about the good ole days, I, as a Millenial, immediately think they are a crazy racist and hope for a time I only assume all white people owned all other people and women were made to dance at the slightest provocation. However perhaps my generations inability to see in black and white isn’t always the case.
When it comes to whisky, I immediately knee jerk into believing it’ll all taste like heaven and everything made before I started drinking was nectar from the gods. Again I’m using a strawman to show my point: It’s not always going to be minstrel shows or handjobs and rainbows, but rather somewhere in the middle.
Or at least I should taste it first. But probably not the handjobs. Not going to taste those.
Wait, jumped ahead again. Today I’m reviewing Aberlour 10 (1990s bottling). What has changed at Aberlour in the last… Dear god it’s been almost 20 years since the 90s.
Sorry, give me a second, feeling really old.
Okay, took some deep breaths, had a drink, can continue.
What has changed? Frankly they aren’t saying. Some would point out, probably nothing. They may have used some peated malt back then, but not enough to find out. We know that Sherry production hasn’t done as well in the past few decades, and as such, the barrel quality has diminished. We also know that some distillers don’t ferment as long as they used to.
However it’s all conjecture. Not to mention you can become excited at old bottle tasting, and I have been told that a malt sitting in a bottle for a long, long time without being opened can have some positive effect.
I can’t say, personally. I haven’t been the dusty guy. That’s for others to say. Let’s just see how this tastes, shall we?
Colour: 2.5Y 8/8
Nose: Leather, vegetal, grass, strawberry, grapes
Initial nose is leather. It’s not an overly fruity malt. I can see why there’s an assumption there was some peat in this one. Lots of vegetal and leather notes.
Again, have heard that, and experience some sherry casks that can give those notes too. Fruit here isn’t overripe. Richer notes. Grass notes too, which is unexpected.
Granted looking back at my last review of Aberlour 10, it was more faint sherry and light smoke. This is less spice, more grass, and better developed smoke/sherry notes.
Taste: Leather, grape, cherry, sand, lemon oil, macadamia, wood, caramel, lemon
Nose continues on. Given some time, more citrus, nutty, and caramel notes.
I have to say that this tastes similar to some Aberlour, but with a twist. My assumption is a better barrel. Or maybe I’m just excited. I did check my pants, and that wasn’t showing, but I’m older now, so maybe not.
Nuttiness is similar to current. Again, smoke is more like leather, and it’s less fruit, more citrus.
Finish: Bison grass, cherry, smoke, cashew, oak, rich butter
Again, grass note is the main flavour. Richer flavour. If the current is grass and mint and earth/floral, this one is heavy on the grass. Specifically bison grass used in some vodkas.
I think I prefer the finish of the new one, I think, however that doesn’t make this bad. This ends up with way, way more butter than the new one. And as my pants scream out daily, I like butter.
Conclusion: So I don’t know what sitting in a bottle for extra time does to a malt, because I haven’t done enough research. I will believe people who tell me there is some influence.
That said, blind, not having Aberlour 10 for quite awhile, this has some noticeable differences in cask. That I’m feeling confident in stating. Simple flavours have been amped up a little bit. And there’s a grass note that has taken the place of the celeriac note in the current.
A must try, really tasty.
Scotch review #623, Speyside review #190, Whisky Network review #1034