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Gaelic for ‘Big Burn’, Aultmore distillery was founded in 1895 by one Alexander Edward, on a site just north of Keith in Banffshire. Edward was following in the footsteps of his father, who had been responsible for the construction of Benrinnes some years before. Aultmore was well named, taking its power from the burn via a water wheel, before transferring to a steam engine which ran for the next 70 years. Then in 1923, Aultmore was purchased by John Dewar & Sons who, despite selling the site in 1925, are once again the 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 the production process, malted and milled barley which is mixed with warm water and stirred in a large vessel called a Mashtun. During this procedure, sugar within the barley dissolves into a kind of syrupy liquid, or Wort, and sent to be fermented into 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 a single malt has been available since around 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, independent bottler. 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.
Smell: Classic Speyside nose with Apples & Pears, Grass, Honey & Heather & Biscuit.
Taste: On the palate there’s Vanilla, Honey & Malt with Custard, Cinnamon and a touch of Pepper.
Value for Money: Excellent value at around £35 a bottle, bottled at 46% ABV and with only 875 bottles worldwide.
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.