By Richard Thomas
Speyside is the largest of the Scotch whisky regions by a considerable margin, containing the majority of all Scottish distilleries within its borders, and in a crowd like that it isn’t easy to stand out. Some do it by offering good value for the money, others with experimentation and trying new things, and another route is through sheer popularity and renown. Aberlour manages all three, being an innovative distillery that offers at least a few reasonably priced expressions, and standing as the most popular single malt in France, where Scotch whisky is much-loved.
The Aberlour 12 Year Old Double Cask is an example of that good value part, and is one of the distillery’s entry-level whiskies. The single malt is a marriage of whiskies aged in “traditional oak” barrels and sherry butts, which are then brought together and bottled at 40% abv.
In the glass, this Aberlour really shows off the character of its two-wood maturation, what with its light amber coloring. Although not quite into the American whiskey amber range, it is quite coppery, akin to gold with a red tinge.
The nose is firmly staked on soft-and-malty territory, with a solid note of Starking apple (also known as Red Delicious) for character. On the palate, the whisky comes over as a medium-bodied, well-balanced sipper, straight forward and flavorful. A nice dollop of earthy woodiness plays off the sherry-driven, dark and red dried fruits core. It’s simple and delicious, and the finish rolls off a sweetly spicy note to deliver plenty of lingering warmth.
Expect to pay £36 in the UK and about $45 in the US. As usual, Americans are getting the better bargain, mostly due to much lower sales taxes.