Monday, June 8, 2015

Experimental Whisky: Aberlour 12 Year/Bowmore 12 Year Blend

While, as David D has pointed out, blending single cask releases is closer to how blends are actually made, I like to blend batch releases as well. This is both because they're often what I have open at the time and because it's a lot easier for other people to try making the same blends for themselves, as they are much more likely to be able to get their hands on them than single casks.

This was put together from the ends of my bottles of Aberlour 12 Year and Bowmore 12 Year with an eye towards mellowing the Bowmore peat while emphasizing the sherry cask element of both whiskies.

In all its caramel colored glory
Aberlour 12 Year/Bowmore 12 Year Blend

Nose: softer Bowmore peat, smoldering ashes, charred pine needles, herbal (marjoram, savory), gingerbread, sea air, salty, a touch of ham, overlapping styles of sherry influence, fresh raspberries, maple syrup. After adding a few drops of water, the smoke overtakes the sherry, giving it a drier character, with some incense emerging, and more cured meat.

Taste: slightly thin malt and sherry sweetness up front, darker sherry character and dusty grain around the middle, turning bittersweet near the back with sherry residue, red wine oak tannins, fresh ginger, and mild peat. After dilution, the sherry becomes less bright - but more dominant, with the other elements integrating, the ginger expanding across the palate, and the grain waiting until the end to show up.

Finish: mossy peat, vegetal, fresh malt, moderate oak, lingering sherry and red wine

This is one of those blends that is genuinely greater than the sum of its parts. This rounds off some of the things that I don't like about Aberlour 12 Year and Bowmore 12 Year as single malts, while bringing together their best elements. At 40% it's drinkable, but doesn't lose too much in terms of flavor density. If you have both of these at home, I highly recommend pouring a bit of each together to see what comes out.

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