This is a milestone post for Malt and Oak, as today’s post is our 200th. I did a year in numbers post on December 31st, so I’ll spare you the numbers recap, but will take this opportunity to thank you for your readership, feedback and engagement!!
On to the whisky now….I’m tasting the new Bacardi “Last Great Malts” Aultmore releases. My (very positive) review of the 12 year old appeared within the series on entry level malts, and can be found here. Having completed that series, I’ll explore the other two Aultmore expressions, the travel retail 21 year old and the 25 year old, with a 30 and 35 year old expressions planned for the future.
Like the Craigellachie expressions, the official bottlings are ex bourbon cask matured. On the one hand, this allows the spirit to really shine through, on the other hand, with the younger Craigellachie expression, this choice was to the detriment of the whisky. With Aultmore it isn’t, and the 12 year old is actually a wonderfully complex and fresh whisky, and one that will make its way to my own cabinet. And here’s where the 21 year old came up short: On the one hand, it lacks the endearing freshness of the 12, and on the other hand, it has not truly developed a character of its own. I haven’t yet had the 25 (I’ll get to it over the weekend), so I can’t make the comparison to it yet, but the 12 year old is the better of the two, and if you factor in value for money considerations, is a walkaway winner.
Appearance: Gold, slow forming slim legs.
Nose: Honey, light spices, wet moss, a sour note, lemon (but not a clean lemon scent), lightly vegetal note and a curious coal fire note. A few drops of water tease out more of the toasted/coal scent.
Palate: Lemony citrus, dusty spice, some sweetness and then a light note of bitter citrus comes through.
Linger: Sweet lemon, very spicy in the back of the throat and a tartness on the inside of the cheeks. A sensation remains in the mouth for a while (a warmness and a tartness) but almost no discernible flavors.
On the one hand, the 21 lacks the delightful freshness of the 12 and on the other hand has not developed any type of gravitas from being older. So in one word, this is a disappointment. It also explains why there’s not 15 or 18 year old in the range – there’s simply nothing going on there…
I don’t know how much it costs, but given the pricing the 12 year old and the Craigellachie range, it’s surely priced well beyond its value.