Duncan Taylor “NC2” (distilled at Aberlour), 16 year old, 46%
Single Malt Scotch | $80.00
This whisky packs a lot of clean, complex, and well-balanced flavors. It features a creamy, layered, malty-sweet foundation (vanilla, caramel, toffee) chock full of bright fruit (golden raisin, honeyed orchard fruit, currant), rounded out by firm, dried spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, mint) that dances on the palate. Long, warming, spicy finish. Nicely done!
This has a significant proportion of sherry wood and it marks a real step up from its younger stablemates. It boasts a stylish nose of old leathery cigar boxes, vanilla, and orange marmalade. Syrupy on the palate, with oranges, sweet sherry, honey, and figs. Spicy oak, caramel, citrus fruits, and aniseed in the lengthy finish.
A’bunadh is matured entirely in Spanish oak oloroso butts, non-chill filtered, and bottled at cask strength. This edition is very rich, with dark berry notes on the nose, hazelnuts, caramel, cinnamon, and orange fondant creams. The palate is full and supple, with polished oak, honey, new leather, raisins, prunes, and a hint of cloves. Very long in the finish, with plain chocolate, black pepper, fruity spices, and oak.
Signatory (distilled at Aberlour), 20 year old, 1990 vintage, (Cask No. 101777), 56.1%
Single Malt Scotch | $110.00
Matured in a bourbon hogshead. Floral nose. Soft, creamy, and elegant, with honeyed malt, custard, subtle butterscotch, and delicate fruit (orange, peach) peppered with spice (powdered vanilla, nutmeg). Well-balanced, gently dry, and easy drinking. A charming whisky (for a lazy Sunday afternoon, perhaps?)
Both bourbon and sherry casks were used for aging. Stewed fruits, butterscotch, and soft spices on the nose. Silky palate delivery, with honey, dark chocolate, light sherry, and cloves. Lingering finish, with citrus and allspice.
Matured in a mix of bourbon and sherry casks. It offers a nose redolent of Christmas pudding: figs, sultanas, orange, honey, and cream. Smooth on the palate with sweet spicy sherry, orchard fruits, and caramel. Raisins and plain chocolate in the lingering finish, with Jaffa orange notes to the end.
A new small-batch addition to the Aberlour line-up, Casg Annamh (Gaelic for ‘rare cask’) has been matured in European and American oak oloroso sherry casks. Rich, buttery caramel aromas, grilled pineapple, and ginger. The palate is smooth, and yields spicy vanilla, tangerines, and cloves. Lots of black pepper and licorice in the relatively long finish. Less complex than the distillery’s A’bunadh.
Duncan Taylor (distilled at Aberlour) Dimensions Range 1993 18 year old, 54.3%
Single Malt Scotch | $110.00
A light color suggests a relaxed contact between cask and whisky, but what this lacks in terms of ‘woodiness‘ it makes up for in all-round deliciousness. Aberlour is often masked with plenty of sherry and/or bourbon oak; here the distillery character is thrust to the fore and comes out as being highly aromatic. There are candies, bubblegum, kiwi fruits, and cut flowers. The palate is vibrant with a touch of parma violet and pear juice. Altogether a little charmer.
Very sweet, with thick hard toffee, stewing dates and figs, molasses, and rum raisin ice cream, before some dark chocolate, dried mint, and orange peel. The palate is a different beast. It ignites on the tongue with a burst of dried pepper flakes, beneath which are cocktail bitters: gentian calamus. It begs for water, when out comes black currant jam (very Aberlour) and a little malt. Now it’s calm and hugely drinkable, and therefore even more dangerous.
Duncan Taylor Rare Auld (distilled at Aberlour) 1993 18 year old, 54.4%
Single Malt Scotch | $105.00
Shy is the word. Pale in color, again suggestive of little cask interaction. There’s a little hint of white currant and light cereal, delicate and fragile — more fragile than the Balmenach — with a little touch of white chocolate. As it opens, out comes violet. The mouth is tense, as if everything is still baled up, even after all this time. Very light acidity gives a certain freshness that water doesn’t shake loose. Simply not enough cask. £67