This bottling of 10 year old Aberlour comes from around 1988 according to the Interwebs. It’s from a time when the distillery still described its whiskies as ‘Aberlour-Glenlivet’ a moniker used fairly extensively across Speyside, but now entirely dropped, save for The Glenlivet itself. The whisky is a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry cask maturation and is bottled at 40% ABV.
Nose: An initial hit of musty and dusty pineapple and tropical fruits (‘Old Bottle Effect’ I’m sure). Deep malty chocolate and coffee grounds (rather akin to a mocha). Rum-soaked raisins, prunes, light balsamic vinegar and furniture polish. After a short period of resting some berry flavours come to the fore, bringing with them toffee apples and some light soily earthiness.
Taste: A very full and oily arrival which is packed full of flavour – deep old sherry, dark chocolate, brewed coffee and molasses. This is followed by pencil shavings, old leather and something umami – soy sauce. In the back palate, jammy reduced berries and liquorice are joined by some pretty hefty pepperiness.
Finish: Short to medium (a holdover from the OBE perhaps?), delivering cocoa nibs and burnt caramel.
This version of Aberlour 10 year old is remarkably different from its modern incarnation. Whilst both are a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, our late 80’s bottling presented a much deeper and darker flavour profile – the sherry influence is greatly more prominent than in current bottlings. It’s almost a shame that there’s some OBE here (though I personally like the flavours it brings) as it’s undoubtedly altered the structure of this whisky – the finish in particular felt a little shorter than I would have expected from such a dense palate. Whilst there’s not a great deal of complexity here, there’s a ton of intense sherry forward flavours. A fascinating trip down Aberlour memory lane.