Aberlour Distillery was founded in 1879 by James Fleming, son of a local farmer. Fleming had been supplying grain to local distillers for years and dreamt of one day owning his own plant. He would realise this dream when he acquired land on the outskirts of Charlestown of Aberlour, a village named after it’s founder, Charles Grant of Elchies, though much more commonly known, then and now, as just Aberlour.
The land Fleming bought included a good water source in the form of St. Drostan’s Well, named after a Scottish Abbot who was trained by St. Columba. Drostan was one of the 12 ‘Brethren of Columba’ who accompanied the famed Saint from Ireland to Scotland around 563AD. There are but a few shreds of historical data regarding Drostan but the story goes that Columba and his followers travelled from Iona to Buchan where, after curing the local chiefs son of illness, they were given land on which to build a monastery. When Columba later returned to Iona he left Drostan behind to serve as Abbot. Later, Drostan sought out the existence of a hermit and travelled north to Aberdeenshire where he is said to have performed miracles and according to legend, baptised many locals in the same body of water that now feeds Aberlour Distillery. One can’t help but wonder what he would say were he to witness the purpose his well is now being put to.
Aberlour’s early years were tough, it had to be rebuilt in 1879 and 1898 respectively, after twice being detroyed by fire. Since then it has been passed from owner to owner before finding a steady home in the 1970’s with Pernod Ricard. Today it is part of Pernod’s Chivas Brothers whisky portfolio with a core range made up of a 12 year old, 12 Year Old Sherry Cask, 15 Year Old Double Cask Matured, 16 Year Old, 18 Year Old and A’Bunadh.
This week however, I’m focusing on the 10 year old which has long been rumoured to be in danger of discontinuation, concern backed up by the products absence from the official website. For the time being however, it remains in good numbers in many shops and online retailers. Something of a budget malt, the 10 year old retails for around £25, though it can often be found even cheaper in UK supermarket chains.
Smell: Sherry notes like Raisins & Sultana’s. There’s Orange, Brown Sugar and Honeycomb. Over time in the glass the Sherry fades a little and some Vanilla, Honey and Lemon come through.
Taste: Orange, Caramel, Winter Spices like Cinnamon and Clove and a little Sherbet.
Value for money: Bottled at just 40% and practically glows orange, suggesting perhaps a fairly liberal use of colouring. There is however, a decent depth of flavour for such a budget malt.
Score: 41 / 50.
Would make an excellent entry point into the world of whisky and it won’t break the bank. Even for the more experienced whisky drinker, it is a dram which offers enough to warrant a place in any collection. One of the best in its low price range.