Aultmore 24 Years Old 1989 – 73.66 Toffee and humbugs in a tea chest

57% ABV, £92 for 70cl

Score: 74/100

SMWS

What they say:

We found something intriguing and attractive about the nose – dry, dusty woody impressions (tea chests, polished oak, old attics, forest floor, dried porcini) – along with rum-soaked raisins, burnt sugar, apples, marmalade and humbugs. That woodiness hit us on the palate ‘like a stave in the mouth’ – pepper, clove, cinnamon, tobacco, ash and also lovely, dark sweetness (treacle, sugary espresso dregs). Water brought toasted marshmallows, stewed apple, menthol and tobacco to the nose, while the palate now balanced a pleasing dry spice mix with vanilla, maple syrup, toffee and honey-roasted parsnips. Intense tastiness and fascinating character from this ‘big stream’ distillery.

Drinking tip: Perfect dram for a winter’s evening, maybe after dinner, with coffee.

Date Distilled: 31 May 1989

Colour: Sultana gold

Age: 24 years

Flavour : Spicy & sweet

Cask Type: Refill ex-sherry butt

Whisky Region: Speyside Deveron

73.66 bottles

What I say:

Dram # 3 WOLS 14/5 Scotch Malt Whisky Society tasting hosted by Ryan McCafferty. This is a 24 year old Aultmore (SMWS distillery #73) expression finished in a refill sherry butt with a 454 bottle outturn.

Colour:

Ruby amber gold

Nose:

Slightly tannic leather or suede, red fruits; strawberry, redcurrant, plum, creamy toffee and sweet mint (spearmint) reminiscent of humbugs or Murray mints.

Taste:

Warming and rich with dried fruits; raisins & prunes, cinnamon and nutmeg spice led to hot pepper and rich sugary toffee. There were hints of Rooibos Chai (south African red tea combined with cinnamon, clove and cardamom) and bitter dark chocolate. As the spices and alcohol were getting in the way of my enjoyment I decided to water this down to reveal more of the toffee and fruity flavours and noticed a distinct saccharine sweetness.

Finish:

Medium/long, menthol, toffee sweet and oaky wood.

Overall:

Enjoyable but not as full-bodied and sherry-influenced as I would have liked. Despite its age this Aultmore expression has struggled with a perhaps slightly underactive refill sherry cask. The result is complex and interesting but lacking in that serious mid-body deep fruits, leather and chocolate elements that really ring my bell in sherried whiskies. In the end I found myself wanting something more from this dram that it was unable to give, a sherry-bomb that fizzled out perhaps?