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Ever since a rather memorable afternoon tasting whisky at the Aberlour distillery in Speyside, this 16 year old has been my favourite single malt. Not only does the malt have a beautiful depth of taste but for me it also conjures up wonderful memories of a trip to the Highlands to visit family with my husband not long after we were married.
The Aberlour distillery is on the banks of the River Spey the water used in the whisky is pure spring water drawn from underground springs and the kegs of whisky benefit from the moist Speyside air to help it mature.
The 16 year old malt is matured in a mixture of casks in a process called double cask mature. This is to give it a unique taste the distillery believe it is the combination of ex-bourbon casks and the finest ex-sherry butts that give the whisky the depth of character and a distinctive fruitiness and spiciness . I certainly would have to agree that that it is a beautifully crafted whisky with a huge complexity and depth of flavours which seems to me to be more complex than whisky's not matured in this way.
The colour of the malt is a rich golden amber that is really deep and even when I add some water to the malt it still remains a deep golden amber and caramel colour. This for me shows the fact that it has taken on the oak from the casks as it has matured.
The nose of the malt is very rich and straight away you can tell that this is something special as you get hints of raisins and nuts with spices that remind me of rich fruit cake. When adding some water to the whisky these notes become stronger as the water seems to unlock some of the depth of flavours from the malt. It seems to unlock some hints of vanilla and caramel as well expanding on the notes already there which gives it a great complexity. The scent has a good longevity to it as well lasting in the nose well after you have first inhaled the delicious scent.
The taste and palate of the malt is wonderfully smooth and rich. There is an alcohol kick to it and you certainly know it is over 40% proof. However this alcohol kick is not the harsh kick of vodka but instead a smooth full and spicy taste that lingers beautifully in the mouth to be savoured and enjoyed. There is a definitive taste of oak to the malt as well as a huge amount of malt to it, you can definitely taste the barley with its hints of smokiness. As this is non-peat malt there is no heavy peat tones which I find suits me as I find peated malts a bit too heavy, here the combination of barley and oak are a perfectly blend for me to enjoy The malt once you have added water has an almost chocolaty edge to it with the lingering taste being a dark sensuous chocolate taste rather than a milk chocolate. This with the combination of vanilla and barley and oak notes give a warm full boded taste. One of the things I love about the taste is how long this lasts in the mouth even when it is swallowed you are still getting all the complex tastes for several minutes afterwards meaning a glass can well and truly be savoured and enjoyed rather than rushed. The finish is definitely warm and full of spicy fruit and oak that is just a pleasure to enjoy.
As you can probably tell I love this malt whisky it is beautifully crafted it has a wonderfully complex nose and the taste is packed full of warm oak and barley with hints of vanilla and chocolate and spiced fruit. It has a wonderful lingering quality to it. I personally can't recommend this whisky highly enough it is definitely one for cold winter nights to be enjoyed with friends as you have a good chat and while away the hours. At around £40 a bottle from Ocado or direct from the distillery it isn't a cheap buy but in our house a bottle last a long time as it can be savoured and enjoyed and for the quality of the malt I think it is a great price and a whisky that certainly deserves the full five stars.
Aberlour 16 Year Old is matured in a combination of ex-bourbon casks and the finest ex-sherry butts. This maturation ensures the depth of character as well as the distinctive fruitiness and spiciness of Aberlour. Colour: Rich golden amber. Nose: Rich, dry scented floral and sweet raisin aromas with spicy nuttiness. Palate: Smooth, full, sweet floral and spicy flavours with a soft plum fruitiness and gentle oakiness. Finish: Long, warm, spicy fruitiness.