Whisky Review: Aberlour 16 Years Old Sherry Cask (Bottled 2016)

Category: Speyside single malt scotch whisky

Origin: Aberlour Distillery

Bottling: Pernod Ricard/Chivas Brothers; Hand fill distillery only

ABV: 56.2%

Cost: £70

aberlour-16-years-old-sherry-cask-hf

What they say:

Aberlour Distillery only/hand fill 16 Years Old Sherry Cask, batch A16, bottled 4th October 2016 at 56.2% ABV.

What I say:

Dramvent Calender Day 9

This December I am attempting to sample and review a whisky everyday for the 24 days of Advent in the run up to Christmas. My very basic criteria as I sorted through my masses of whisky and samples were these:

  1. Single malt scotch only and should be (or have been) generally/easily available
  2. Each day must be from a different distillery
  3. Each day must be equivalent in age or older than the previous

Another cheat, only available from Aberlour Distillery, this hand-fill bottle represents a single cask/cask strength A’Bunadh. Matured for 16 years in what I can only assume was an ex-Oloroso cask, the colour first attracted me to this bottle and I’m glad I bought 2 during my visit!

Colour:

Treacle / old brown sherry (18/20), medium tears and large oily legs

Nose:

Deep and unctuous, redolent of Christmas, Oloroso sherry, sherry trifle, red fruits, plum, strawberry, raisin, fruity red apples, banana and honey, a hint of sulphur precedes spiced cinnamon, clove, mace, milk chocolate, toffee and cereal malted barley

Taste:

Malty, dark chocolate and treacle initially, Parkin melds into richly spiced Jamaican Ginger cake, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, mace and fennel seed all play across the tongue meanwhile a rich treacle/molasses sweetness persists, Medium-heavy bodied – a little unusual for Aberlour but eventually hints of cinnamon spiced apple and some other lighter fruits notes such as strawberry syrup creep out from underneath the huge sherry cask influence.

Finish:

Long, sweetly spiced treacle with herbal oak wood, fennel seed and liquorice root

Overall:

A rich and deliciously sherried Aberlour, this hand-fill cask really proves the base filling underpinning Aberlour’s A’Bunadh expression. A perfect example of how their light apple & honey spirit character really can work with a dollop of sherry cask maturation (as most of their standard range also attest). It really is a joy to find unadultered whiskies like this that reminds me why I love this particular distillery and its whisky so much! Visiting Aberlour distillery was definitely a highlight of 2016 for me.

Score: 91/100

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