Things were beginning to heat up on my trek to taste more of the world of single malts. After tackling my first bottle of Speyburn 10, the recommendations were flying. Try this Isaly, it will blow your mind! Try this Highland scotch, it’s the best out there!
For the uninitiated, here is a quick/dirty run-down of the major players in the scotch flavor profile (not meant to be very thorough, just a side-note and more info here –>http://www.scotlandwhisky.com/about/single-malt-scotch-whiskyregions ):
- Islay: Heavily peated, smoked. Aggressive.
- Highland: Dryer, sweeter, fruits, a touch complex
- Speyside: Mellow, sweet, I find them to be a touch floral
- Lowlands: High malt, delicate, grassy
I found myself with a quick case of alcoholic’s ADD. I didn’t know which way to go, but I knew I had to get there quickly and with something completely different. With the mindset that scotch, compared to bourbons, was something that one sipped, savored, contemplated and enjoyed, I chose to go down a more delicate path to the Speyside. Best I could tell, Aberlour 12 was a good place to start and here’s my take:
- Color: burnt amber with slight ruby hue in direct sun
- Nose: over ripened bananas, medicinal cherries, background of slightly charred oak, cinnamon and other woody spices round it out
- Palate: Warm, soft (surprisingly) cherry cough syrup (in a good way) giving way to the over ripe sugary bananas then blossoming into the spicy and mellow smoked oak flavors at the back
- Finish: Lightly warming and the above mentioned flavors really spark alive at the finish as you can smell them again. They evaporate into a pleasantly lingering roasted oak that is in no way overpowering. The mouth feel dissipates in an appropriate time between drinks just to give you enough time to forget what it tastes like and want to remember again.
Overall: This scotch was a kick in the soul shouting, “Wake up!” It’s utterly amazing that so many flavors and feelings can come from a single dram. Sure, it had 12 years to get there, but man oh man, what did I get myself into? The fruity playful nose was only hiding a very serious flavor of sherry, fruit (old), spices, and warmth. A staple for any collection and best enjoyed when there’s a slight nip in the air.