Aberlour 1988 “Distillers Selection” (40%, OB, for Spain, Circa 2002)

A few days ago my whisky club had a tasting of Aberlours. Quite a unique one to boot since these were almost all exclusively official bottlings. We only had one independent Aberlour. It was from a Bourbon Cask and did show the distillery profile for a while, but that was quickly gone. We had a few out of the standard range and a few from the standard ranges from the past. A few bottles stood out. We liked one old 12yo double cask matured for its high dark Oloroso Sherry content (and costing next to nothing). An old 21yo from 2000 was very good and this odd one out. The 1988 Distillers Selection, that was released exclusively in Spain. After this one 1988 came only one other Distillers Selection, the 1989. Again for Spain only. For Aberlour this is quite special. It is said that instead of the usual Oloroso, for this bottling Fino and/or Manzanilla is used!

Color: Full Gold

Nose: Wood, caramel and spirity. Perfumed hay and a little bit of rot. Rotting leaves. It’s grassy and somewhat sherried. Malty with murky water. Very malty actually. Earwax and cream. Still the wood plays also a big part in the profile of the nose. Although the whole is pretty raw and dirty, there are some clean spots to it too. It’s a bit like the different markers come in and go out of the profile. Just like a blinking traffic light. Quite an experience. This definitely has to breathe for a while.

Taste: Thick and wood spice. Malty and sweet. Quite creamy at first, but it suffers a bit here of the low ABV of 40% (not much though). A whisky not to be taken moderately. Big sips are the way to go here. Some bread and mocha in the aftertaste, also a slightly bitter and sour woody note. The longer gone the more woody and bitter. When your palate is a bit tired (late in the day and evening), the wood isn’t such a big problem anymore, and the whole gets more toffee sweet.

As said above, we had this amongst a lot of other Aberlour official bottlings and it did stand out a bit. It’s not the usual Aberlour. It does seem to be more malty and does have some more wood. I’m very curious what’s the story behind this version. Still, I enjoyed it. And considering the Original price a very good bang for your buck, als with most official Aberlours actually.

The 10yo is an entry-level, hotel bar kind of Whisky. If you skip this and pick any other one from the range, like the 10yo Sherry version, you’ll have a good malt at almost no cost. Very interesting distillery with interesting bottles and marketing to match.

Points: 84

Thanks to Jose Juan for finding me this bottle. Thanks also go out to Heinrich and Ralf for the info!

By the way, here is Heinrich’s very nice site about Aberlour.

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