Aultmore 12 year 46%

Bonds of friendship, strengthened over a good dram, can span the globe and remain solid even if opportunities to meet are rare.

Such is the case with one friend from the US who happened to be in Mumbai while I was in the US. As I braved blizzard conditions in North America, she was enjoying catching up with our Whisky Ladies in much more pleasant conditions.

I returned home after she left, to be greeted by a lovely bouquet of lilies, some delicious chocolates and carefully put away in my whisky cabinet, a generous and much appreciated gift – an Aultmore 12 year.

Aultmore 12 year 46%

  • Nose – A lovely fresh citrus, delightful drizzle of honey, some vanilla then crisp orchard fruits, a creamy quality with a nougat, oak, bit of spice
  • Palate – Sweet with a light spice, a bit malty with gentle wood, more of that nuttiness, cream almost oily
  • Finish – An easy finish with spice, surprisingly long with the spice continuing
  • Water – While it isn’t needed, a splash of cool water goes well too, making it even more accessible

There was something quite fresh about this whisky, reminding me of spring bursting with new growth with a soft perfume in the air. Nothing complicated, it is easy and enjoyable, understated yet really rather good – one I’m delighted to have grace my whisky cabinet.

As I raised a silent toast to my friend, I thought it rather appropriate to have such an enjoyable sociable dram remain as a malty reminder of our times together… and look forward to the next chance our paths cross somewhere in this world

And what do the folks over at Dewar have to say?

Crisp notes of apples and pears with an aromatic floral finish.

What about other Aultmore experiences?

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Aultmore 2000 46% (Gordon + MacPhail)

Our October tasting session had a theme of ‘go slow’… let the whisky evolve… Each had its unique character and each needed proper time and focused attention to unravel its mysteries.

We also went back to our original ’spit the 1st sip’ approach – helping us better calibrate our palate to appreciate the three distinctly different whiskies.

Our first whisky of the evening was yet another treat from independent bottler Gordon & MacPhail – this time a delicate Speyside from Aultmore.

Altmore 2000

Aultmore 2000

Aultmore 2000 46% (Gordon & MacPhail’s Connoisseurs Choice), Bottled in 2014
  • Colour – Light straw
  • Nose – Floral fruity, ripe peach, sweet and very inviting, has a sense of being velvety smooth, exceedingly tempting, as it opens a bit of nougat
  • Palate – Initial ‘1st whisky’ hint of being bitter, then after our first swish & spit, the next sip revealed a delicious honey, mild spice. For once the palate is every bit as good as the nose promised, exceedingly well-balanced, delicate yet still manages to coat the palate from top to bottom, balanced and oh so smooth and creamy
  • Finish – Some debate as the initial impression was the finish was quite limited… yet still felt satisfying. As we ‘tuned’ ourselves to the nuanced character, began to appreciate that in fact it has a long subtle finish, really quite delicious!
  • Water – Don’t… Water does not enhance and makes it seem terribly young with a spicy kopra
  • Impressions – Like a delicate Japanese or Chinese paper cut, very well-rounded, very easy to drink…

Speculation… As we sample blind, we began to assess our thoughts about the whisky. It vaguely reminds of Glenmorangie in its light fruity floral sweet character yet different. Age was a bit difficult to gage – not very young but also not too old. Certainly not more than 16 years… Sense that the alcohol hovered around 43% given its light approachability.

The reveal… Our first as a tasting group from this distillery and yet another ‘hit’ from independent bottlers Gordon & MacPhail. It is getting to the stage where we can blindly grab anything from their Connoisseurs Choice line!

Our host shared that he briefly sampled it at a whisky event in Europe. While normally such light whiskies are not his personal preference – this one stood out as something compelling enough to explore further. We agreed!

Knowing it is a light whisky and would be the first of the evening, he chilled the whisky for 45 mins in the fridge before serving to help ensure the viscosity for our tasting.

Our conclusion was that this was the kind of whisky  you would just sip on your own while reading a good book, curled up with a cosy blanket on a cool evening. Something to slowly enjoy its subtle range of aromas and taste. It doesn’t need conversation. It doesn’t need company. It is for those times you simply want to relax in quiet comfort.

Here’s what the Gordon & MacPhail folks have to say about this Aultmore:

  • Matured in a refill American hogshead and refill sherry hogshead. Natural colour. Non chill filtered.

Without Water:

  • 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.

With Water:

  • 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.

Previously Aultmore was rarely available as a single malt beyond independent bottlers, instead found as part of popular blends like Dewars.

Some may recall that I tried a couple Aultmores on my July London trip – both the 12 and 21 year – part of Bacardi’s “Last Great Malts of Scotlandrange. I was surprised to find them so appealing – and recall being impressed that the promise of the nose followed through on the palate.

I, for one, look forward to both exploring more Aultmore and more from Gordon & MacPhail!

The other whiskies we sampled in October included:

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