This Aberlour-Glenlivet over 8 year old is a bit of a diva in the design stakes as the square shaped bottle is very distinctive. Each side harbours a unique perspective and harks back to the golden age of whisky prior to all the efficient computerisation we endure today.
Bottled in the 1970’s for export to the Italian market this version is at a higher strength (50%) and tends to be one you will see at auction now and again, but rarely opened. I have owned a much older square version of this but passed that on without opening it. Now I have the opportunity to delve into the liquid itself and may arguably regret my previous decision. I do love the over age statement on the bottle – now that’s a bygone relic!
Aberlour distillery has been rebuilt a couple of times yet still retains at least one of older buildings. The tour itself at the distillery is a mixed blessing. The internal features are modern and somewhat bland. It’s only when you reach the tasting room and a generous selection that you begin to truly appreciate the distillery. Also awaiting is the bottle-your-own selection with a bourbon or sherry cask available for you to take home. I plumped for the sherry last time around and either represent excellent value at just £65 each.
Colour: cinder toffee
Nose: oh my, immediately you know this isn’t a whisky from today’s era. Black Forest gateau with wood polish, fennel and celery. A leathery note almost verging on rubber bands so that’ll be a touch of sulphur to some but to me its flavour. Cinnamon, ginger snaps, dark chocolate no make that Terry’s chocolate orange with roasted coffee beans. A great first impression.
Taste: more dark chocolate with vanilla and shoe polish. There’s a real thickness with meaty mushrooms and a bitterness from the wood. Cherries, ginger and a crispy bacon feel combine well with the treacle and liquorice. Also a touch of rum and a rather drying finish.
Overall: the higher strength isn’t noticeable here and works very well as its entirely drinkable without water. Just a lovely example of a old-style malt whisky with skillful distillation and excellent casks. Why don’t they make it like this anymore?