As I mentioned in my reviews of the Craigellachie releases of the “Last Great Malts” series (you can see the reviews of the 13, 17, 19 and 23 here), Bacardi decided to take the Dewar’s malt distilleries to market. Craigellachie was first, with ex bourbon cask releases, and if you’re thinking of the Craigellachie 13 as another entry level expression, stop right there! It’s not! The Craigellachie 13 is for much more experienced palates than any of the other entry level expressions. The second series released it the Aultmore with three expressions (the 12, 21 for travel retail and the 25 with a 30 year old planned for a later stage), with Macduff (AKA The Deveron) and Royal Brackla to follow later this year.
Unlike the Craigellachie, the Aultmore 12 is a definitely a good entry level whisky, and is suitable both for new and experienced palates alike. I will say, as I have about the Craigellachie, that having it in an ex bourbon cask is very different than most of the independent expressions that were prevalent until the official bottling (many of you probably remember the Aultmore XO story), and it’s a nice experience. I do have samples of the Aultmore 21 and 25, and will get those reviews (with more information about the distillery and Bacardi’s marketing strategy) up right after the series on entry level expressions runs its course.
Aultmore 12 (46% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Pale straw, thin and slow legs.
Nose: Honey, vanilla, green leaves, lemon, annona fruit. There’s an underlying dusty sweetness with a fresh note I haven’t come across too often. Time in a covered glass brings out a touch of sourness on the nose which dissipates quickly.
Palate: Sweet honey and a light pepperyness that teases the center of the tongue with a fizz like tickle.
Linger: Sweet on the tongue, bitter on the sides and spicy in the throat in an extremely long and satisfying linger.
This is one of the better 12 year olds on the market today, fully on par to compete with the Bunnahabhain 12 for the top spot in the sixth grade!! No doubt, this bottle will be migrating into my whisky cabinet in my next order.
I am a little concerned with the pricing point chosen for it by Bacardi in the UK (£42-£54). The corrcet pricing reference is, as I said, the Bunnahabhain 12 (~£35), but can be found in The Netherlands for €42.