The nose on this hand filled Aberlour, whilst more than pleasant, doesn’t fully hint at the depth of flavour that is about to follow on the palate. It’s obviously going to be sherry bomb, but there’s some interesting shades here – aniseed, menthol and mint all feel slightly unusual for this style, but they all work nicely here. Whilst to my taste dilution is not required, a few drops of water brings benefits all the same. Whilst you might not be able to physically hand fill this at the distillery anymore, the quality of whisky and the price point require your attention whenever you’re in the area.
A jam-packed and substantial sherry influence. Coffee, dark chocolate, rum-soaked raisins and some actual rum start us off on our journey into this genuine sherry-bomb. There’s a lot of fruit here, but it’s not fresh, rather heavily stewed, reduced and transformed into jams and preserves – raspberries, redcurrants and plums – Resting for a short time brings additional nuance – some nuttiness (walnuts) and biscuit aromas, along with red apples joining our fruit menagerie but offering a touch more lightness than we had before.. Spicing is noticeable, but generally delicate, favouring cinnamon. The addition of water brings out some of the natural earthiness of the spirit and adds in a sprinkling of black pepper.
Now we’re talking – a rich but velvety arrival packed full of flavour that is surprisingly drinkable at 56.5%. At the front of the palate, sherry notes – chocolate, cake and raisins are joined by touches of tanned leather and rancio. Development of the whisky then moves into fruit and spice – berries, plums and apples – with some bit cinnamon and pepper, but now also some very interesting aniseed. At the back of the palate, coffee grounds, cough syrup and anise. Water brings out the juicier elements of the fruits, and whilst this is drinkable without dilution, boy does it like some water all the same. Mouthfeel is now silky and an array of new flavours have joined the party – menthol, mint, light soils and some cask influence – vanilla and planked wood.
Medium in length and quite spicy – cinnamon, pepper and aniseed.