Aultmore 12 (46%, OB 2019)

Aultmore seems to be the most discreet out of Dewar’s portfolio of malts. Craigellachie has a more divisive love-it-or-hate-it profile, Aberfeldy is the designated home of the Dewar’s blend, and Royal Brackla is the most premiumised of their brands, which leaves Aultmore without any distinguishing characteristics marketing-wise. Like Craigellachie, Aultmore is bottled at 46% with no chill-filtration or added colouring, but besides this 12 year-old there aren’t many affordable options among official bottlings (the range is crying out for something around 15-16 years old in my opinion). It’s matured predominantly in refill bourbon and sherry casks.

Nose: Fresh and fruity. There’s a prominent note of unripe pears and citrus, as well as a floral note in the background. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a nose that reminds me more of spring-time – this is full of fruit just about to ripen and flowers just coming into bloom, with a gentle grassiness and minerality in the background.

Palate: Continues along the same lines – the pears and citrus are at the forefront again, but there’s also a mineral note that reminds me of chalk more than anything else. This isn’t your typical middle of the road fruit-and-vanilla Speysider, in other words.

Finish: Quite long, with minerality giving way to sweetness.

Comments: This elegant, spirit-led style is right up my alley. It’s quite un-commercial since it lacks bold flavours or a strong cask-led vanilla influence, but it’s full of charm and hidden subtleties. I can’t think of any better entry-level examples of the light Speyside style.

Score: 87/100

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