21 years are quite a proud age for independent bottlings and especially for Aultmore, apart from some big houses like Signatory or Adelphi, which already have such old barrels up to 35 years on offer. Nevertheless, the interest in the bottle division was moderate - is not just a hyper-distillery and also a pure ex-Bourbon Cask without fancy finish. ;-)
Impressive I think that the Maltbarn manages as a single cask to bring the otherwise defined in elaborate Vatting Aultmore character impressively on the point - a beautiful autumn whisky, great barrel selection and clear buy recommendation (even more, since the Maltbarn No. 108 clearly below the Price of the original bottling ranked)!
And how does the Maltbarn 21 with its 50.7% compare to the 46% barely lighter 21er OA, which I personally consider to be heavily undervalued in the base and has been extensively scrutinized elsewhere? Basically, both are very close in character. Reduced to a word, I would say that the original bottlings is a bit more restrained, or with a much more appropriate English term "more mellow". The mandarins of the maltbarn are oranges in the OA, menthol corresponds in the OA rather spruce needle extract, vanilla rather vanilla pods, the French herbs express themselves in the OA more than tobacco or tea, flowers in Maltbarn are more fruits in OA.
For me, both are very nice ex-Bourbon bearings, where I can determine my favorite at most on the daily form.
A beautifully dense cloud Bourbon Cask-typical fruit sweetenings float creamy and vanilla from the straw-yellow malt over the rim of the glass: pear compote with vanilla sauce, a whole can of pickled peaches with whipped cream, a freshly fried pineapple and sesame balls from the china buffet, with some tangerine and a cocktail cherry. Flowery accents, fresh grass, geranium and clove, all the way to spring white, white Haribo gummy bears or - to make up for the surreptitious advertising - bright Katjes Jogger Gums with foam rubber mix into this intense fruit. The barrel makes a pleasant impression with autumn forest soil, French herbs and even a clear hint of methol, white chocolate and a hint of marzipan, the barley complements the beautifully complex impression of shortbread fingers, vanilla crisps with powdered sugar and a slice of toast with honey. Very nice!
A large part of the accentuated nose also makes it to the tasting. Flowery and grassy, at the same time sweet and soft again the canned pears and peaches along with their juice and gummy, creamy and oily. Honey and vanilla biscuits and a pleasantly tarty touch of tangerine citrus refresh the exuberant fruitiness. Even after the 21-year maturation period, the oak has managed not to turn over in bitter notes, but to anchor itself mainly nutty and malty with some tea leaves in the taste.
In the finish, marzipan in white chocolate, malt bread, short crust pastry and chewed pear peels hit the French herbs and the slight menthol kick from the nose and burn for a long time with a note that already reminds of a fruity white wine. Top!