Whisky Review: Aberlour 12 Non Chill-Filtered

Last night I had the pleasure of being a guest on the Malted Man Cave on YouTube in order to co-review a single malt whisky—Aberlour 12 Non Chill-Filtered. Please be sure to check out the video on YouTube, as well as the Malted Man Cave’s other video reviews. It was a fun experience, and I hope to do it again soon. Maybe I’ll start my own YouTube channel one of these days. Anyway, this is my corresponding written review to go along with the video review.

The Aberlour distillery in Speyside produces two different 12 year old whiskies in its core range—the 12 Year Double Cask and the 12 Year Non Chill-Filtered (NCF). The main differences between these two 12 year olds are the ABV at which the whisky is bottled and the use of chill-filtration—the Double Cask is bottled at 40% ABV and chill-filtered, while the NCF is bottled at 48% ABV and, as the name states, non chill-filtered. Both are aged in a combination of sherry casks and bourbon barrels, although the proportions may be different between the two. The NCF version is, in my opinion, the better of the two. I wish that Aberlour would simply eliminate the Double Cask version and only bottle the NCF.

Type: Single Malt Scotch
Region: Speyside
ABV: 48%
Non chill-filtered

Nose: Tropical fruits, in particular guava, passion fruit, mango, and pineapple, with a touch of toasted coconut. Orange peel. Cherry. Baking spices, especially nutmeg, but also allspice, clove, and a little cinnamon. Chocolate mint candies. Fresh oak. Raisins. Anise. White pepper.

Palate: The sherry cask influence is clear. Chocolate malt. Chocolate covered raisins and cherries. Rich maltiness. A touch of clove and spice. Quite fruity, with notes of berries, pineapple, banana, mango, and peach. As the palate develops, some smoky, spicy, and bitter flavors come into play. Anise and rye bread dominate the back end.

The mouthfeel is full and a little oily. Overall this is a complex, rich, and satisfying palate.

Finish: Quite long. Mouth-coating dark honey. Aniseed. Black licorice. Tropical fruit mix. Soursop. Cocoa. Raisins. Light cherry. Candy corn.

Overall: Excellent. This is a quintessential Speyside malt, and one of the best value malts you can buy. Really quite complex for a 12 year old whisky. I can’t think of a consistently better 12 year old (or younger) Speysider or Highland malt. I think it’s pretty clear that Aberlour uses top notch casks to age their whisky, as this has that type of oak freshness you usually only get with first or second fill casks.

Unfortunately this is not always an easy bottle to find, at least for me. Most stores here in Middle Tennessee carry the Double Cask version of the 12 year, but not the NCF version. When I do come across it, this is an automatic buy.

This is one of my favorite whiskies to drink on a cold winter night, especially at Christmastime. But it’s good any time of the year.

Buy again? Yes.

Score: 88/100

Questions about my scoring system? Refer to the Review Method & Scoring Scale page. 


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