...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Single Malt Report: Aultmore Batch 2 That Boutique-y Whisky Company

Alt-what?  Didn't you already do the Alt-something from that indie bottler with the colorful labels?  Didn't you leave the experience never wanting to try more of either ever again?

Sort of and sort of.  There's another Alt-something distillery and my misgivings about Allt-à-Bhainne were misguided since I enjoyed the subsequent Berry Bros sample.

But what about that self-proclaimed boutique (I'm not writing that name out) bottler?

I'm trying to keep an open mind.  Blue text, you're getting as jaded as I.

I've been trying to fight it.

Good luck with that.

And good luck with that whole open mind thing.


Yes, we're moving on to a pair of Aultmores this week.  I'd never tried an Aultmore before these reviews so I had no idea what to expect.  All I knew is that it was (like Aberfeldy) a main ingredient in Dewar's and that (like with Aberfeldy) Bacardi Inc plays Silas Stingy with its barrels, rarely letting any escape to the independent bottlers.  That Dewar's element doesn't work in its favor for me, but I was hoping that, perhaps, Bacardi put aside the barrels that didn't fit their brand and sent them upriver.  Here's to hoping!

In the next review, I'll get into a little more of Aultmore's history, but for now I'm going to get right to the tasting notes.  I'd entered this tasting hoping this experience would be better than my TBWC whisky from last week.  Here's to hoping!

I tried these side by side. I'm reviewing the one on the left today.
Distillery: Aultmore
Owner: Bacardi Inc.
Independent Bottler: That Boutique-y Whisky Company
Age: damfino
Maturation: yarp
Type: Single Malt
Region: Speyside (Banffshire)
Alcohol by Volume: 56.0%
Limited Release: 226 bottles
(Thank you to Tetris for donating this sample to Diving for Pearls Laboratory!)

The color is light gold.  The nose starts with a wallop of pine sap, similar to the TWBC Allt-à-Bhainne.  That's followed by caramel, bitter orange, and lots of ethyl.  After some time, smaller notes of rosemary, savory herbs, brown sugar, and chlorine emerge.  The palate is piney too, at first.  Then comes vanilla, caramel, and tangy lemon.  There's a little bit of spice and malt, much more cinnamon syrup.  Lots of heat in the finish.  There are the tangy lemons, cinnamon, and vanilla, along with some black pepper.

Feels like this could use some water.

WITH WATER (approx. 48%abv)
Somehow, the nose is hotter.  Less pine, though.  The caramel and chlorine are still around.  In the background are some fresh oranges and a little bit of simple perfume.  The palate starts floral (more flowers than perfume now) and very spirity.  There's a slight sweetness along with vanilla and pepper.  The finish is bitterer.  Lots of heat, still.  Then pepper, sugar, and pine.

Water didn't do much to open it up, unless more was required.  It seemed very very young, even younger than the five year old Aultmore I'll review next.  The palate was more enjoyable than the nose as its combo of vanilla/caramel/lemon/cinnamon made for acceptable drinking.  And there was no fatal flaw as there was in the TBWC Allt-à-Bhainne.  Though, while there are similarities between my notes and the official ones, I'm having a difficult time saying anything complimentary about this Aultmore.  It's not terrible, but it seems like it was pulled from the oven before it was done baking.  And if it isn't in fact very young whisky, then maybe it could have used a better cask.  But I have no idea since TBWC discloses no information about their whiskies.

Once again, there aren't many (or any?) reviews of this whisky online.  For what it's worth, the whiskybase folks have rated it the lowest of the Aultmore TBWC batches.  If one bought a bottle and is struggling to get through it, perhaps blending it with a decent sherried malt may help it out.  And perhaps could it inspire one not to buy a whisky based on its label next time?

Availability - Master of Malt (though it's sold out)
Pricing - (500mL) Was $60ish w/o VAT, before shipping; close to $85 w/shipping
Rating - 74


  1. I've tried a couple of good Aultmores this year (well, ever), the pick being a massive beast from SMWS - 73.62 Magical, Mellifluous, Marvelosity. As delicious as it was, though, I didn't buy it, as the price ($350) was nearly as stupid as the name.

    1. That is a silly price for a 24yo whisky. Who do they think they are? Diageo? (Actually, they sorta are since Diageo owns part of LVMH who owns SMWS, but that ruins my joke.) Is it just me or are their names getting goofier? They must be running out of adjectives.

    2. Right up there with the North American exclusive Glen Moray 10 Year that's $115. Your ratios are all wrong, folks. It's not as if they're the only indie bottler around.

    3. Yes, SMWS seem to still be sitting on a LOT of Glen Moray barrels - there are always at least two per Outturn down here - obviously extant from before Glenmo offloaded.

      Clearly I'm being a little disingenuous quoting an AUD$ price in this forum - taxes and excise on spirits are waaaaay heavier here than elsewhere - but the general principle remains.

      US$115 for a 10YO though - in the US - seems like blind optimism at best.

    4. There are 3 cases of it remaining, eleven months after its release. SMWS prices have never made sense to me which is why I never coughed up the additional large fee to join the club. Also there hasn't been a SMWSA bottling that's sounded interesting for the last two years. Putting out a young Glen Moray as the Oh-Aren't-The-NonMembers-So-Lucky! release, then charing four times the price of the official 12 year old seemed to be some weird choices. Perhaps they offloaded this one because they knew their members wouldn't be that excited by it? Otherwise, if they wanted to lure new members wouldn't a price like $60 or $70 been better, or perhaps offer up a sexier distillery?

  2. I feel like MoM would be better served selling a book of all their labels without any specific names on them, that you could detail in and glue to your own bottles. It's not Ardbeg 10, it's Peatciraptor vs Sharkbeg!

    1. See, an add your own label thing would be something different. Plus it would provide more fun than the one-time joke a single label provides.

      (Plus lower prices or 700mL bottles or more disclosure wouldn't hurt them either, but at least your idea is more creative than theirs!)