Ten is the magic number, or at least it is for many whiskies. Talisker comes of age as does Benromach or Glenmorangie. A decade at least in the cask is not to be sniffed at given these times of turbo-charging whiskies in virgin casks and fighting against time itself.
Quite often 10 years draws the line where the core expressions actually commence. Tormore used to be a 10 year old but now seemingly fourteen is the magic number. Nowadays marketing seems to drive everything regarding a whisky, regardless of the quality of the contents. This seems to have been bypassed in the pursuit of economic gain.
For a moment back there the attrition of the No Age Statement (NAS) suggested a total white wash. One-by-one the lower age statements were stumbling and falling from the shelves. Production was upped across the industry but it was never going to be enough apparently. Now the tide seemingly has been turned and we’re in the midst of the eye of the storm. It’s almost calm as some distilleries stop their NAS expressions, or a least cut back with a view to returning to the number brigade.
Aberlour does offer a NAS whisky in the form of their sherry monster A’bunadh that changes from batch to batch. It’s an example of a NAS done rather well and not overly priced like some offerings we’ve seen from – lets pick just one distillery for now – Laphroaig. Not all NAS is bad folks and its been around for longer than some would care to mention.
This Aberlour ten year old is often highlighted as a good starter malt for those that are just commencing out with whisky. That’s not to undermine its quality as its widely distributed and well priced making it more like a quality piece of vinyl that you bring out now and again when necessary. It’s also a launching pad into the rest of the Aberlour range so it should exist to entice; not to strip cash from your wallet as several dubious NAS bottlings do.
Colour: a light bronze
Nose: it’s a gentle whisky with red apples, heather and vanilla noticeable. Then the slight sherry influence comes through with cranberries and raisins. With water spices such as pepper and cinnamon appear also a hint of mustard seeds.
Taste: restrained with honey and vanilla the core flavours. The sherry tint again is there but far from forceful with water more toffee but nothing dramatically changes. A gentle finish with a floral flourish.