Review: Aultmore 12 Year Old
Aultmore is a Speyside distillery currently under the ownership of John Dewar & Sons, the company behind Dewar’s blended Scotch and owners of Aberfeldy, Craigellachie, Royal Brackla and The Deveron (Macduff) distilleries. Aultmore may be the least known distillery in their portfolio, and that can be attributed in part to most of their output being used in blends – Aultmore single malt bottlings used to be few and far between.
In 2015, John Dewar & Sons launched the “Last Great Malts” collection in an effort to be more competitive in the growing single malt market. Among the line-up were three Aultmore releases – a 12 year old, a 21 year old travel retail exclusive, and a 25 year old limited release. An 18 year old was introduced at a later date.
Aultmore 12 Year Old is an ex-bourbon matured, unpeated single malt Scotch whisky intended to compete with entry level offerings from Diageo and Chivas. On the surface, it appears to do everything right: it’s age stated, non-chill filtered, of natural color and bottled at 46% ABV. How does it compare to the competition?
Aultmore 12 Year Old Specifications:
- Spirit: Scotch.
- Type: Single Malt.
- Region: Speyside.
- Age: 12 Years Old.
- ABV: 46% (92 Proof).
- Cask: Matured in ex-bourbon casks.
- NCF (Non-Chill Filtered)? Yes.
- Natural Color? Yes.
- Price: $59.99 for 750 ml.
- Color: Pale straw.
- Nose: Pears, green apples, citrus (orange), honey, earthy, floral.
- Palate: Rich, creamy mouthfeel. More pears, green apples, honey. Heather. Orange citrus note from the nose becomes sweeter and reminiscent of mandarin oranges. Woody with a hint of vanilla in the background.
- Finish: Medium length. Slightly drying. Pears and green apples fade, heather and citrus linger. Pepper and spices. Vanilla and woody notes to the forefront.
This is one of the best entry level, ex-bourbon matured, unpeated single malt whiskies I’ve tried to date. It’s richer and more complex than I was expecting, likely in part due to the higher proof and lack of chill filtration. I look forward to trying Aultmore’s older expressions and am glad that Dewar’s made the decision to officially bottle their distillate, rather than continuing to reserve it for blending.
Elias’ Rating: 87/100
- Color: Pale straw.
- Nose: Fruity and waxy. Pear, vanilla, some floral notes.
- Palate: Grassy/hay, more fruit, vanilla, toffee, shredded wheat cereal. Slight citrus.
- Finish: Medium finish. Slightly waxy. Still sweet. Citrus is a little more pronounced here. Some vanilla and cookie dough.
I expected this to be another one-dimensional Speyside whisky, but I was pleasantly surprised. The grassy, pear, vanilla combo plays well with the gentle waxiness. At 46% ABV, age stated, natural color, and NCF, this is a nice ex-bourbon matured 12 year old single malt Scotch at a reasonable price.
Jayson’s Rating: 85/100