Next up was an Aultmore I’d had the pleasure of sampling this back in October 2015. The original purchase request was for the newer version from 2002 (bottled 2016) at only 43%, however I was so happy to see this one make its way to Mumbai that I kept it to myself!
Aultmore Distillery lies several miles north of the town Keith on the eastern fringe of Speyside. The distillery was established and building commenced in 1895 by Edward Alexander. The distillery initially did well and production was doubled in the first few years. However, the Pattison crash (1899) hit Edward hard as he had been a large supplier of bulk whisky to Pattison. Production continued at Aultmore but times were difficult; closing during WWI with the barley shortage, then Edwards sold the distillery to John Dewar & Sons Ltd in 1923. It was rebuilt when temporarily closed from 1968 to 1971, this time under the auspices of United Distillers, a pre-cursor to Diageo. Then in 1998, Diageo sold the Aultmore Distillery to Bacardi, subsidiary of Dewars – yes back to its earlier owners – in a deal worth more than £1 billion!
Known primarily as an element in blends – initially Pattison, then various for Dewars and others, it has only more recently emerged as a single malt. It should be noted that Aultmore whisky is not matured at the distillery site.
We sampled a 2000 vintage Aultmore bottled by Gordon & Macphail as part of their Connoisseurs Choice range. And what did the Whisky Ladies think?
Aultmore (2000/2014) 46%
- Nose – Initially very sweet, then spice, baked pear, grassy, wildflowers, fresh meadow, then star anise, fresh mint – almost like paan… After the 1st sip, a lovely lemon peel, so subtle and nuanced
- Palate – So much going on… herbal, almost reminiscent of Underberg, though has a thin body, it has such a lovely delicious quality, roast cumin, some darker notes which made it eminently more complex and enjoyable
- Finish – Brilliant! Spice to chewy bitter back to spice and soooooooo long, as it evolved took on almost a burn match quality
- Water – Initially punches up the spice, makes the palate fruitier, nicely rounded, with a sweet finish with a hint to bitter to make it interesting
For many, this was the most interesting as its character kept shifting as we settled down and let it evolve. Each sip revealing more elements, all in subtle harmony.
On the bottle, the notes confirmed it was matured in refill American Hogshead and refill Sherry Hogsheads. They describe it as:
The whisky has herbal and dried fruits aromas with hints of charred oak. On eat palate there is a delicate fruitiness with spices and a touch of oiled wood.
More detailed tasting notes from Gordon & MacPhail are for the 2000 vintage bottled in 2012 not 2014. Here is what they say about the 12 not 14 year Aultmore:
- Nose – The whisky has herbal, dried apricot and raisin aromas with hints of charred oak.
- Taste – Delicate fruitiness, with red apple and pear flavours. Festive spices and a touch of oiled wood linger.
- Nose – Toasted malt and sweet summer fruit aromas, blueberry and raspberry. A subtle cinnamon edge lingers.
- Taste – Peppery and sweet with hints of green apple and plum. Becomes creamy with a smooth milk chocolate edge.
Would we agree?
This bottle was purchased at The Whisky Exchange for GBP 53 and freshly opened in November 2017 for our Whisky Ladies.
The ‘affordable’ G&MP trio featured:
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