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Monday
Jan082018

A Throwback Sherry Butt

I remember sitting in the office in Scotland, tasting through these Sovereign samples, and looking up information on Aultmore distillery as I approached this nine year old cask. It was a bit of an odd duck, but I appreciated it because it was so different in its character: dry and herbal rather than sweet and supple, the opposite of what I expected from such a dark and saturated sherry-matured whisky. The Single Malt Whisky Yearbook I was thumbing through had tasting notes from other expressions of Aultmore that they described as having the flavor or coffee or even "milky coffee." I then went back and tasted the nine year old sample again...there it was: coffee. Not only in its color, but in its aromas and flavors! While the price is indeed incredible, don't expect the world's most complex or earth-shattering whisky here in this bottle. It's a one-trick pony that does exactly what you hope it will. However, what it lacks in dynamism it more than makes up for in drinkability and what is apparently classic Aultmore character. It's big and spicy right off the bat, but that initial sweetness quickly fades and turns into herbaceous notes of dried herbs, pepper, toasted nuts, with a very dry finish. It's a whisky meant purely as a bang-for-your-buck bargain and I couldn't pass it up. It's so different from anything else on the shelf and I get a kick out of that coffee note! Those of you who enjoyed some of our older Glenfarclas Family Casks of yesteryear may get a bit of nostalgic bliss from this earthier sherry expression. It's definitely of the same ilk as that robust 1970 vintage barrel we did a while back.

2008 Aultmore 9 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Sovereign" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $49.99 - Aultmore isn't one of Scotland's most recognizable whisky names, but ever since Bacardi's move to establish the Dewar's distilleries as veritable single malt brands, names like Craigellachie, Royal Brackla, Aberfeldy and Aultmore are moving more to the forefront on the global stage. Originally founded in 1896, Aultmore was sold by Diageo to Bacardi over 100 years later as part of the big Bombay gin deal, resulting in a rarely seen 12 year old edition half a decade later. Located in the Speyside region, the distillery's sherried malts are often described as having flavors of "milky coffee" and that's most definitely the case with this heavily-sherried 9 year old expression. Coffee in both its color and its aromas, the nose is pungent with heavily-roasted aromas and savory Oloroso rancio. Don't be confused by the color, however, because despite its dark hue this is no supple, sweetly-flavored Sherry bomb. In fact, it's a robust malt, dry on the finish and almost savory in its profile. The mid-palate is loaded with toasted almonds, tobacco, and bitter orange, but the finish is short and simple. While many of our casks are meant to be pondered and savored, this 9 year old Aultmore is very much to the point. It's a cask strength, sherry-matured edition of everyday quality single malt, priced to drink and enjoy in volume. The high proof is almost unrecognizable with the saturation of the sherry and its very much drinkable at full strength.

-David Driscoll