Thanks to /u/nofansky for the sample via /r/ScotchSwap on Reddit.
Aberlour have had a 12 year old expression in their stable from some time now, but a while back they made all the whisky nerds really happy when they announced a non-chill filtered version.
I’m not going to go too much into the science of chill-filtration, but basically for those who don’t know, chill-filtration involves chilling the whisky so that some of the oils and compounds freeze solid, the spirit is then filtered and these bits removed. The problem is that these compounds contribute quite a lot to the flavour and texture of the whisky.
The reason this is done is because these compounds can make the whisky go cloudy, which would make the uninformed consumer think something is wrong and not buy it. This clouding can be overcome by raising the ABV to 46% or more, and here they’ve bottled it at 48%, lovely.
Aged 12 years. 48% ABV. Non-chill filtered.
Nose: Quite a rich, toasted malt note. Honey, porridge. Dusty sherry. Light woodspice with cinnamon and sultanas. Creme Brulee. Stewed fruits with custard. Alcohol is a little too present, but nothing terrible.
Palate: Tart fruits. Bitter wood. Sour cherries. Herbal honey. Nutmeg. Parsley and unsweetened Rooibos tea kind of flair for a moment on the palate at the end.
Finish: Long. Parsley and rooibos notes from the palate carry over for just a bit, along with some orange peel and sea salt chocolate, and then a long dry fruit note with some hints of tannins.
Would I buy this: No
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
This wasn’t hugely complex but it did have some very pleasant notes to it and they were quite bold thanks to the lack of chill filtration. I’d have liked to have felt the sherry a little more but on the whole for a decently priced 12 year old malt this was a nice one. Don’t see myself getting a bottle but I’d definitely enjoy a dram of it here and there.