This post completes the current Aultmore trilogy, as the future holds a release of a 30 and a 35 year old expressions. To this point, we have explored the Aultmore 12 (and loved it), and the travel retail exclusive 21 year old (and was less than blown away), which brings us to the 25 year old.
The distillrey was established by Alexander Edward (owner of the Benrinnes, Craigellachie and Oban distilleries) in 1897, just in time for the big whisky bust years, and being partially owned by the Pattison brothers, it promptly closed until 1904, then stopped production during World War I due to barley shortages. The distillery didn’t really make it back on its feet until its 1923 purchase by Dewar’s, bringing it into the DCL fold in 1925.
In 1971 Aultmore was expanded and capacity doubled with the installation of 2 new stills, currently producing at full capacity making 3,000,000 litres of spirit per year, the vast majority of it going into Dewar’s blends. There were only three official bottling: A Flora and Fauna 12 released in 1991, a Rare Malt Selection 21 year old cask strength release in 1996 and an official 12 year old released in 2004 that just disappeared off the markets at some point (some digging brought up this picture).
The current release of a full core range is part of Bacardi’s very recent push into the single malt market with the “Last Great Malts” series bottling full core ranges from the Dewar’s distillery portfolio. Craigellachie came out in 2014 with a 13, 17, 19, 23 and 31 year old series, Aultmore with a 12, 21, 25 and in the future adding a 30 and 35 year old with Royal Brackla and Macduff (The Deveron) to the offerings in 2015.
There is one issue with this series which I have addressed in my review of the Craigellachie 23 – pricing. Bar none, this series was priced at the very top of their age classes (with the Craigellachie 23 even overreaching the class), and the Aultmore isn’t different. The 25 year old is priced at £296, compared to Glenfarclas’ £117, Glenlivet’s £199, Glengoyne’s £235 and Bunnahabhain’s XXV at £218, all of whom are better whiskys (in this writer’s humble opinion and with any other applicable disclaimer inserted here 🙂 ).
Aultmore 25 Year Old (46% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Gold, thin legs with liquid residue left on glass.
Nose: Deep clean honey, floral notes, dusty spices and a hint of that clean coal fire I detected in the 21 year old. There’s citrus, but less lemony than the 21 and some orange showing up in the sweetness.
Palate: Sweetness first as it runs on the tongue, then the spices hit followed by the very zesty citrus. A mature freshness is to be found in this bottle, with a full bodied yet light mouth feel.
Linger: Honey, light bitterness, a lingering sweetness with spice in the back of the throat. After some time, the very long finish produces green apples once the spices abate. This expression has an excellent finish!
Putting the price issue aside, the extra four years deliver a dram which has matured into a more interesting dram than the 21, and has a little more of what made the 12 a great tipple in it. Nevertheless, I like the 12 better, so I won’t even go into the value for money aspect, which is self evident.