Aberlour 18 yo 2002/2020 (62.4%, OB, cask #2575, 263 bottles)
This new baby has got the dark brown, almost mahogany colour of the very early batches of A’bunadh. It should be a proper sherry bomb à l’ancienne.
Nose: splendid, full of Havana tobacco, soy sauce, bouillons, crude chocolate, tar and liquorice (with moderation), miso, walnut wine, espresso, perhaps a wee bit of beef jerky, or rather Grisons meat, some cherry juice, and echoes of a great old Bourgogne from the Côte de Nuits. Your choice, be my guest, there’s even peonies. Ultra-classic high-sherry malt.
With water: there, marrow, game, black cigars, very old Port, natural tar liqueur, coffee, crushed rocks, patchouli, earths… An amazing nose that tells you many long stories, but do not use an amplifying glass please.
Mouth (neat): immediate pleasures, on liquorice, walnut liqueur, chocolate and coffee, plus a tiny mentholated touch. Superb, and I suppose meaty flavours will come out once it’s been H2O-ised. Now it’s not even brutal at 62% plus, or is it me?
With water: no, it’s doesn’t actually become very meaty, it would rather gear towards more coffee and raw chocolate, which is just as great. I love it. Notes of bitter herbs, rocket salad perhaps… It’s just perfectly dry.
Finish: long, a tad more on soups and bouillons this time. I cannot not mention umami, and indeed use the word savoury. A feeling of burnt wood and cigar in the aftertaste.
Comments: up there with the best old Glendronachs, older-era Macallans - when they were still insisting on using oaken sherry casks - and indeed Aberlours (the cubes, remember?)
SGP:462 - 92 points.