Aberlour 16 Year Old Double Cask Matured – Review

I can think of absolutely no tie-in between Speyside Scotch and Cinco de Mayo. 148 years ago today,  a small but doughty Mexican army fought off a much larger French Army who were understandably pissed off at Mexico for not paying their debts and finally had decided to strong-arm the Benito Juárez administration into freeing up a little cash. Luckily for ol’ Benito, General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín had no interest in learning another language and didn’t like heavy cream sauces. He bravely fought off the apparently over-staffed and less-than-committed French horde. Somehow this small, somewhat inspiring, somewhat inconsequential battle has now become a clear, uncontested reason to get drunk mid-week in the United States. We co-opt small holidays and turn them into crass, commercial excesses better than any people on the planet.

Aberlour has a reputation of being one of the bigger, swing-for-the-fences, sherried Speyside malts.  The 16 Year Old has been matured (not just finished) in sherry casks as well as the usual bourbon barrels. I tried this one recently at Nihon.

The Nose: Mmmmm…all sweet and hardly any peat.  Bourbon-y brown sugar and Maraschino cherries.  There’s a chewy caramel roll/sticky bun quality as well.  Lots of sherry tones come out as well, ripe raisin as well as smooth oak.  Lush, fairly voluptuous, and comforting.

The Palate: After that rich, inviting nose, the entry was a little empty, which was surprising and a little disappointing.  It was sweet and smooth but in a way, kind of like simple syrup, I was expecting more complexity and depth.  Things become more interesting with candied orange notes, oaked sherry and a pleasant spiciness, with a little cinnamon towards the end.

The Finish: Sweet, dusty and spicy in just the right balance.  The finish isn’t all that long, but it feels just about right.  16 years worth of oak notes linger on a bit.

Thoughts: There’s a lot to like here, but for me, that kind of empty, almost weak entry keeps it from being a really stellar dram.  It has a wonderful nose and great balance between the sweet, sherry flavors and the wood, it just seems to fall apart a bit when it first hits the lips.

Aberlour 16 Year Old Double Cask Matured, Speyside

43% ABV

Score:  85

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