Aultmore Distillery lies just north of Keith in Banffshire. It was founded in 1895 by Alexander Edward who also owned Benrinnes, a distillery built by his father. The name Aultmore means ‘Big Burn’ in Gaelic, in reference to the water source used in production. In fact, the distillery was powered by water wheel to begin with, before eventually transferring to a steam engine that provided power for 70 years and can still be seen there today. In 1923, Aultmore was purchased by John Dewar & Sons who, despite selling it in 1925, are once again the current proprietors, having reacquired the distillery in 1998.
During the 1950’s, Aultmore was one of the first distilleries to pioneer a form of recycling that is still in widespread use today… During whisky production, barley which has been malted and milled is mixed with warm water and stirred in a large vessel called a Mashtun. During this procedure, sugar within the barley dissolves and is collected as a kind of syrupy liquid, or Wort, and sent to the next stage of production where yeast will be added, causing fermentation and creating alcohol. Back in the mashtun however, the leftover barley residue, known as draff, is collected and sold to local farmers as Cattle feed. Aultmore is said to have been among the first to adopt this practice but today they are certainly not alone, with a similar process in place at almost every distillery in Scotland.
Most of Aultmore’s output goes into Dewar’s blends but there has been a single malt available since 2004. While currently there are only three official bottlings available at 12, 21 and 25 years old, Aultmore can often be found in the ranges of independent bottlers like Morrison MacKay.
Morrison Mackay are a Perthshire based, family owned bottler of whisky. They specialise in sourcing and bottling single malt from all over Scotland which they release under their Carn Mor brand. I’ll be reviewing a 6 year old, 2010 vintage Aultmore that was bottled in 2016 at 46%. Importantly, it has been bottled at natural colour and without the use of chill filtration.
The Scores: About the Scoring…
Smell: 18 / 20. Classic Speyside nose with Apples & Pears, Grass, Honey & Heather & Biscuit.
Taste: 18..5 / 20. On the palate there’s Vanilla, Honey & Malt with Custard, Cinnamon and a touch of Pepper.
Value for Money: 8 / 10. Excellent value at around £35 a bottle, bottled at 46% ABV and with only 875 bottles worldwide.
Overall: 44.5 / 50. A young and vibrant single malt, the like of which you only really get from independent bottlers. 46%… Non chill filtered… Natural Colour… and available for less than £40. Great stuff.