Memories of Ice Storm ’98. I was living in Montreal, was a teenager, had just gotten back to School and heard all the teachers give us the same old speech about being behind and needing to catch up. Our house had been broken into, so we were in the process of assessing everything that was taken, and then the whole world froze over.
On the first day I went out and bought booster packs of Battletech cards.
Jump ahead 15 years, and I’m in Toronto, coming back from an early Xmas at the in-laws, and the world is frozen. We have power this time, but the scene is very evident in my mind. The world is frozen again. Time for a dram to celebrate having power and not losing my pets (Geckos last time, luckily cats are more hardy and we had power this time).
Aberlour 12 Non Chill-Filtered is the third of the Aberlour 12 line, and let me just take this serene, nice moment to tell you that it’s really friggin hard to tell these three apart. Not by taste, that’s easy, I’m talking about in normal conversation. Seriously Aberlour, could you not have given them a nick-name or something? Dick, Sam, and Hephaestus? I mean, I mention I like Aberlour 12 and all of a sudden I have to explain the intricate details between the three almost similar named ones.
Anyway, back to a happy time and trying out this nice dram. It’s Non Chill-Filtered and served at a higher Abv. than the other two offerings. Also, like the Sherry Cask, it’s aged exclusively in Sherry Casks, and not mixed with Bourbon casks.
Special thanks to /u/dustlesswalnut for sending me a dram of this in a long ago swap. I’m just getting to it now, and I’m very happy I get to finish up the Aberlour 12 collection.
Price: N/A in Ontario
Colour: Orange wood
Nose: Raspberry, currant, anise, strawberry jam cooking, cloves, cherry cough syrup, ginger candy
Right off the bat you can tell it’s stronger than the usual Sherry Cask. There’s a lot more strength to it, punching you in the nose. Some spice, but this is mostly red fruit smell all the way.
Can’t smell Sulphur though, so maybe I’m just lucky in that I don’t notice it.
Taste: Cherry medicine, strawberry, licorice, jam, grape oil, ginger
First off, this is thick. Like drinking juice concentrate thick. And oily. Like that time you mixed oil and jam and just drank it straight.
No? Just me then? Okay.
More spices in the taste, and they slowly come out as time goes one. Mellow. Almost like the A’bunadh, but missing some elements.
Finish: Sherry, earth, grapes, acidic, ham, weak watermelon, salt
Now the heavy sherry influence comes in, and there’s an acidic, almost meaty taste to it all. Again, close to what I remember about the A’bunadh, but not quite there.
Conclusion: So the big question is: Where are my pants?
Wait, no, that’s not the current question, it’s the one the judge asks me all the time.
The current question is: Where does the NCF fall in the Aberlour line. So we start with the 10, which is as good as the 12 year Double Cask. Sure the 12 year DC is a little better, but for the money, it’s not adding much, and the balance on each are off.
Then the Sherry Cask, as it has the little extra sherry influence over the others and tastes nice. Then you have this one. The mouth feel is better, and the flavours are more present. Yet none can shine a sulfuric candle to the A’bunadh, so that’s where the NCF stays. If I had to choose, I’d probably still buy the Sherry Cask, as the small increase in quality probably isn’t worth that much of a price increase.
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