Saturday, October 31, 2009

a million shrugging garlicky frenchmen can't be wrong...or can they?

The bottle of Highland Park I bought back in early June finally bit the dust the other day, so I had half an eye out for another one while I was in Tesco earlier, and sure enough my eye was mysteriously drawn to the bottle of 10-year old Aberlour they were practically giving away for £18.

Bit of background: Aberlour is a Speyside whisky, Speyside being by far the most distillery-rich of the whisky-producing regions with something like fifty distilleries. It's fair to say Aberlour is not one of the big Speyside glamour boys like Macallan, Glenlivet or Glenfiddich, though it is apparently the biggest-selling single malt in France; this is probably down to its being owned by French drink-based gigantocorp Pernod Ricard. According to this page, the biggest seller in Spain is Cardhu, and the biggest seller in Italy is Glen Grant. Fascinating stuff.

Anyway, you'd expect certain things from a Speyside whisky - heavy on the fruit, light on the smoke, sweetish, darkish, etc., and Aberlour ticks all those boxes. It's lighter and less intense than the Macallan, though, which is a real slap around the chops with a sherry-soaked Madeira cake (but in a good way). I'm tempted to quote the Paul Giamatti character from Sideways and call it "quaffable but....far from transcendent", though that would be a bit harsh, as it's perfectly nice. No danger of it not getting, consumed, anyway.

[Update after drinking a proper-sized glass while watching the rivetingly awful League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen on TV tonight: it's got a really interesting marzipan-y nose which you don't get with the Macallan and the other Speysiders, followed by the usual sherry stuff afterwards. Second impressions were better than first, anyway, if that helps at all.]

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