Sunday, April 3, 2011

Review: Aberlour 12

Aberlour 12
Price:  $32-$45
Strength:  43%

There are two types of medicinal flavors in whisky: the cherry-flavored cough medicine from sherry casks and the iodine of peated malts.  Not every sherried or peated whisky displays these, and sometimes these notes are pleasant and sometimes not.  Aberlour is well known for its sherried whiskies, and in a good example of such I usually find rich stewed fruit and spice notes.  In Aberlour 12 though, the result is not these but instead the cherry cough medicine.  This is strongest on the nose, which also gives some corn and malt.  My wife thought it smells like Moxie (not good).

Fortunately, Aberlour 12 gets better in the mouth.  The sherry influence is still there but one also gets  more pleasant Speyside notes of honey, vanilla, and malty corn syrup.  The sherry reasserts itself on the finish, which is a little tangy and hot.  Aberlour 12 is double cask matured: aged first in Bourbon barrels and then finished in Sherry barrels (in the same way as Balvenie DoubleWood 12).  The sherry is more evident here than in Balvenie, but the Bourbon and Sherry influences do not compliment each other so well.  Rather than tasting like an integrated whisky, it tastes more like someone mixed some Macallan 12 with Glenlivet 12 (1:3 ratio).  Still, there is a lot of pleasant Speyside character in the dram, and for $35 or so it's a decent value.  81 points (B-).

Other Aberlour reviews:

Shop for whisky (and help Scotch Drammer) at The Whisky Exchange.


  1. I've been curious for a while to try the Aberlour 12, but I guess you may have saved me $35, since I think I could find Glenmorangie 10 for about that if I looked hard enough, and I've been more interested in trying that.

    1. I have to respectfully disagree on this one. This week I picked up bottles of glenlevit 15, glenfidich 12, glenrothes select, macallan 12, Isle Jura 16, and aberlour 12. I like most of them well enough, but the Aberlour is in the top two. I think for the price it is worth a buy and taste. It is one of the creamiest scotches i have tasted and actually have a glass next to me right now. Not saying it's the best out there, but I'd rate it a solid B+ A- for the price. Just my 2 cents

  2. Open it up with a half teaspoon of water....and try again. This review misses by a mile.