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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Aultmore 18 year old

I had the chance to try Aultmore 12 year old last January and found it to be a refreshingly malty malt. In fact, it is part of the most grimly titled whisky series yet: The Last Great Malts. I'm rather pessimistic about scotch whisky's future, but "The Last Great Malts"? Bacardi, that is some cold shit.

The time has come to try the official Aultmore 18 year old. It has more cask work involved in its production, compared to its younger sibling. Will that mean it has succumbed to the scotch industry's modern oak love?

Distillery: Aultmore
Ownership: Bacardi Limited (via John Dewar & Sons)
Region: Speyside (Moray)
Age: minimum 18 years
Maturation: bourbon casks and refill sherry casks
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No
(from a purchased sample)

The nose begins with a bold burst of fermenting fruits (apples, plums and grapes), which is soon joined by roasted barley and fragrant cinnamon. Smaller notes of spearmint gum, orange pixy stix and white peach skins arise later on. The palate balances a sweet fruity note with an edgier mineral side. Salt and pepper. Hint of nutty sherry. A citrus juice note builds with time, but never takes over as its joined by an autumnal leafy note. No vanilla and no tough tannins in the finish. Sweet notes of nectarines and orange pix stix, meet with salt, nuts and butterscotch.

I like this. A lot. Enough "like" for me to consider buying a bottle. It reminds me of AnCnoc 18, but with less heat and less sherry. It also beats both of this week's Ardmores. All of its elements feel aligned, though it has enough fight in it to keep it from being a simple crowd pleaser. These Last Great Malts are, in fact, pretty good so far.

Availability - USA and Europe
Pricing - $100-$140 USA, €80-€125 Europe
Rating - 88