Aberlour 12-year Single-Malt Scotch

The Aberlour 12-year single-malt Scotch rates an impressive 82 percent on the VLO Experience Index -- great quality:value ratio.

Aberlour Distillery, Scotland

Aberlour single-malt Scotches are produced by the Aberlour Distillery, Speyside, Scotland.

The Stats

  • Age … 12-year
  • Variety … Single-malt Scotch whisky
  • Region … Speyside, Scotland
  • Price Point … $45

The Vendor’s Claim

  • “As with most Aberlour whisky, this 12 Year Old single malt has been matured in two types of cask. This double casking adds depth of character as well as balanced notes of fruits and spices …Golden amber with hints of ruby red; very soft and rounded [nose] with fruity notes of red apples; sherried character and fruity aromas balanced with a rich chocolate, toffee, cinnamon and ginger spices; warming and lingering with some smoky notes and gentle pepperiness.” Aberlour.com.

The Experience

  • Appearance & Aroma … The warm amber liquid in its stout, rounded clear-glass bottle with elegant label make a good first impression. When the cork is removed (the cork is attached to a plastic stopper with a serrated edge), the initial scent is a complex mix of light peat and cinnamon without a harsh alcohol edge. 8/10
  • First Sip … The first sip from the first glass was sharp, but after the Scotch got some air, it mellowed to a smoothness that did not assault the tongue or the back of the throat, and subsequent first sips prompted involuntary smiles. There was little tendency to have the first-sip-of-Scotch-grimace with the Aberlour. 7/10
  • Flavor … The vendor’s claims about this Scotch’s flavor seem dead-on. In particular, the Aberlour reminded me of cinnamon-caramel complex with a sweet peppery flavor, graced with moderate smokiness. 9/10.
  • Aftertaste … This Scotch whisky stayed on the tongue just long enough to provide enjoyment, then it had the good grace to retreat. Mildly smoky-sweet aftertaste. 8/10
  • Bottom of the Bottle … Some Scotch drinkers note the tendency of a Scotch to change its flavor signature as the bottle accelerates toward empty; sometimes this change may be a function of evaporation, particularly with cheap corks or stoppers. The Aberlour 12 did not seem to change its flavor after the first, harder-edged glass, although the entire bottle was consumed within a fortnight and the cork was solid and well-fit to reduce evaporation. 9/10

The Reflection

  • A favored vendor in Grand Rapids suggested this lovely Scotch as a good mix of value and quality, and he did not steer me wrong. The rounded bottle, with its amber-hued goodness inside, practically invited me to pour a glass. The first taste was perhaps a bit harsh, but as I progressed through the bottle over a few weeks, I acclimated to it quite well and regretted reaching the bottom of the bottle. This is absolutely a Scotch worth stocking — its value-to-quality ratio is high and permits easy drinking without breaking the bank.

The VLO Satisfaction Index

  • This Scotch scores a 82 percent satisfaction rating. The Aberlour 12 provides a consistent, smooth taste that makes a great introduction into single-malt Scotches by those who may find a heavy, peaty taste to be a bit overwhelming.

Reviewed by Jason Gillikin.

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About jason

Jason is the principal of Gillikin Consulting, a business-media and ethics consultancy based in Grand Rapids, Mich.