The full name of Aultmore 12 Year Old Whisky —Aultmore of the Foggie Moss — calls to mind images of a fairy world. The liquid inside the bottle is just as special. Some reviewers have called it ethereal, as if it is of celestial making. In reality it's one of the five releases in “The Last Great Malts of Scotland” from Dewar's, a collection with some very interesting additions that up until now have only made it to the United States in a few blends and independent releases (which are limited). Aultmore for me was an adventure of the palate. It is subtle and boisterous at the same time, and because the distillers do not use peat to kiln their malt, one gets to enjoy the exciting flavors produced in the distillation process and from the effects of barrel aging.
Aultmore 12 Year Old Whisky pours a pale gold. On the nose it is fresh and vibrant with hints of peach and mint. There is also wildflower honey mixed with a slight wood resin note followed by almond, while an overall “green” character flows throughout. On tasting I found a medium to light body with honey and jasmine tea and a bit of apricot covered in a very light caramel. Hints of vanilla and marzipan (almond paste) are quite cooling on the tongue. The finish is dry and refreshing with a little lingering stone fruit, light cereal notes and lime peel, reminding me of a dry fino sherry.
This malt stirs up memories of walking through the woods on a spring day thanks to lots of bright green tones surrounded by earthy and floral scents. It is lively on the palate but also quite complex, a great before-dinner aperitif style that could work wonderfully with ice or as a highball with a bit of club soda on a hot day. Like other reviewers, I would definitely say this whisky has an ethereal quality, and as I stare out at a winter landscape (I'm writing this in January), a sip of the wonderful “spirit” makes me think of the warm days that will soon be coming back to us.
The other whiskies involved in the “Last Great Malts of Scotland" collection look promising as well (see for yourself in the video below). The Aberfeldy, Royal Brackla, Deveron and Craigellachie are all distinct from one another, using old and new processes to create flavors and textures each with a different tale of honey and citrus, maritime sea side tone, fruity to sulfury. They all seem like a wonderful cacophony for the senses.
Aultmore 12 Year Old Scotch Whisky ($64.99/750ml) is available now at Siciliano's Market.