Aberlour 15yo 1988/2003 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, DL REF 875, 306 bottles)

After all that recent stuff, today it’s time for an oldie from Douglas Laing. Here we have an Aberlour that was already bottled in 2003. Almost all Aberlours that find their way into the realm of independent bottlers seem to come from Bourbon casks or sometimes unusual, or (atypical for Aberlour), Sherry casks. Looking at the color, the amount of bottles drawn from the cask (at 50% ABV), I’m guessing this will be not too far from another independent Aberlour I reviewed earlier.

Aberlour 15yo 1988/2003 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, DL REF 875, 306 bottles)Color: Sparkling light gold.

Nose: Fresh. Fruity, papaya and some passion fruit, with vanilla. Seems to me this came from a Bourbon Hogshead. Very clean and winey, but also some cold and fresh real butter. Some oak and residual sugar. Quite some aroma, since this leaps right out off the glass. Well balanced, but not very complex. Dusty. Low on spiciness, which is typical American oak.

Taste: Sweet, spicy and definitely some oak now. Quite hot. Somewhat fruity and sweet with typical vanilla and pudding aroma’s, and also some toffee and caramel. A desert in itself. Just like the nose, this is aromatic but not very complex. Medium length finish.

Totally anonymous typical ex-Bourbon casked Whisky. Lots of these Whiskies make a good dram and the beauty lies in the details. Just have a look at some bottles from independent bottles who get a chance to select their casks and find that beauty (like The Whisky Mercenary). With this example however, the Whisky is unmistakable good yet anonymous. This could have been anything. Lots of bottles like this were released by the bigger independent bottlers like Douglas Laing and especially Cadenhead’s, who for a while seemed to have some kind of monopoly on Whiskies from refill Bourbon casks. So not bad, but anonymous.

Compared to the Golden Cask Aberlour I mentioned above, I think the Golden Cask version had slightly more to say and was also slightly more complex. This Douglas Laing version was sweeter and therefore more easily accessible and likable.

Points: 84

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