The Aultmore range of single malt whiskies is a brand which has been heavily worked and invested in these last couple of years. The owners Bacardi own 5 distilleries in Scotland including Aberfeldy, Craigellachie, Macduff and Royal Brackla. With a portfolio of five distilleries Bacardi can afford to attack different segments of the market simultaneously. With Aberfeldy and Macduff they can produce high volume low margin bottles which appear in supermarkets all over the world. With Royal Brackla they will look to the conservative international markets to play on the brand of Scotland and the United Kingdom and finally Craigellachie and Aultmore are two premium brands with interesting and challenging flavour profiles for the whisky enthusiast with deep pockets.
The entry level Craigellachie I have already tried and liked quite a lot. To read more about it look at Craigellachie 13 Year Old so the next one to try is the Aultmore 12 year old. It has been on my list to get for quite some time but at £50 a bottle there is always that barrier to entry for me. Will it be worth it? will I be disappointed spending all that money? The solution was to wait (a while) until a lightening deal appeared on Amazon and I got it for a steal of £35 with free delivery.
Built in 1896 by Alexander Edward Aultmore distillery has been part of the Dewers since 1923. It was sold for the princely sum of £20,000. Today, the distillery is owned by Bacardi which bought it for £1 million in 1998 which is quite an increase but also a lot cheaper than it is worth today.
The distillery is located in the village of Aultmore in Moray and looks much more modern today than its 1896 founding date might suggest after a refit in the 1970’s.
Currently Aultmore is producing just under 3 million litres of alcohol per year from two sets of stills. Being part of the Dewer’s family a lot of that is used as top dressing in blending along with Craigellachie. This is why there is so little available on the shelves and before the official bottles so little was available in the independent market either.
The Aultmore 12 is a high quality dram made the right way. Like the Blackadder we reviewed last time ( Blackadder Legendary Highland Malt ) this is natural colour and no chill filtration at a good solid 46% ABV. These are good (expected) points at this price point and more people should jump on this particular band wagon. As said before you are looking at around £50 for this bottle and while we are on the point it is a very nice modern but tastefully designed bottle.
Colour – Lemon Juice
Nose – Very grassy, fresh and vibrant. There is freshly cut flowers, lemon juice and barley water. The meatiness of malt and sweetness from wood sap and honey.
Palate – The palate follows on from the nose nicely. Lots of grassy fresh notes and hay. There is an intensity which is lost very easily with water.
Finish – earthy and herbal finish which linger really nicely.
This could easily have been poor value for money but its not. Like so many of the other reviews of this Aultmore I think this is an interesting and exciting whisky. There is lots going on and I expect it to change and develop as the bottle goes down. There is something for anyone who likes spirit led and vibrant whiskies. The 21 and 25 year old are much more expensive and harder to get hold of. Perhaps those you can try by the dram or from a brand ambassador certainly don’t shell out the money without an idea what you might be buying. It will probably be excellent though.