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Aberlour

A lovely distillery that oozes charm and class. Aberlour (the village) is lovely, too, and the distillery sits just off the road in from Tomintoul.

A lovely distillery that oozes charm and class. Aberlour (the village) is lovely, too, and the distillery sits just off the road in from Tomintoul.

Aberlour, Banffshire, AB38 9PJ, 01340 881249. Chivas Brothers. www.aberlour.com

APPEARANCE AND LOCATION:      ***      Tucked in to a cleft in the rolling terrain that tumbles down towards the sweeping Spey, Aberlour Distillery packs a lot into a small space. On the opposite side of the Lour burn is a walk which takes you to the Linn Falls, quite a spectacular little spot and not overly taxing. The Distillery is a tidy part of what is one of the tidiest villages/towns I visited over the course of the Scotch Odyssey.

TOURS PROVIDED:

‘Warehouse No. 1 Tour’: £12. See ‘My Tour’ below.

‘The Founder’s Tour’: £25. This tour provides further details concerning the history of the distillery. You also get to nose the head, heart and tail of the spirit run in the tasting room; a unique feature in any distillery. In addition to sampling whiskies traight from the cask, there is also a tutored tasting of four Aberlours paired with the finest chocolates. They had to go some to beat the standard offering! Wednesdays and Thursdays only – pre-booking for both is essential.

DISTILLERY-EXCLUSIVE BOTTLINGS:      The opportunity to hand-fill your own 70cl bottle of whisky from a single cask is not unique to Aberlour, but they were one of the first to make the facility available and the First Fill Bourbon and Sherry casks are simply outstanding. £65.

My Tour – 22/04/2010

THE RUNNING COMMENTARY:      ***

THE PROCESS AND EQUIPMENT:      **

Notes:      Nothing is unique or unusual, but it is explained so very well and in appreciable depth. The distillery suffered a very damaging fire (it suffered several damaging fires, in fact) and while they were rebuilding they found a time capsule behind a stone in a wall comprised of a newspaper and a bottle of whisky. Lab testing brought back a profile for this whisky, and the a’bunadh is the result of the experiment to replicate it. I think mine was Batch 17.

GENEROSITY:      **

VALUE FOR MONEY:      **

SCORE:      9/10 *s

This monsieur is the proud co-owner of a single cask, first-fill Sherry matured Aberlour. I would meet these guys twice more throughout the day!

This monsieur is the proud co-owner of a single cask, first-fill Sherry matured Aberlour. I would meet these guys twice more throughout the day!

COMMENT:      Everyone had told me about the Aberlour tour, and that it was the best in Scotland. This assertion was both encouraging and mystifying: positive, because it meant I was promised a really exceptional experience but I thought I was the only one doing them all? I’m not sure I will find a better standard tour, though. They only do two tours a day, one at 10AM and the other at 2PM and it is pretty clear why. There is a lot to prepare, from the tastings to the wealth of information the guides have at their disposal. Chris must be knackered at the end of each day. I was the only native English-speaker, surrounded by 6 French people. Pernod Ricard sending busloads to make up the numbers? The distillery tour was a lot like the others I have taken, although we did get a sip of the wash, but the general feel of the place and the spec to which it is kitted out is very impressive. Even with The Glenlivet and Strathisla (home to Chivas Regal) in the group, this distillery stands out in its own right. The wealth of whisky to try after it is largely attributable to this. My guide at Cragganmore had told me that all the shops in Aberlour shut briefly after each of the tours finish, such is the amount of alcohol that flows. She was joking, but with a sample of the new make, the 14-year-old single cask Bourbon, the 15-year-old single cask Sherry, the 10-year-old, the 16-year-old and a’bunadh, it would be very easy to go beyond the legal limits. My favourite was the Bourbon: really strong, sweet wood and freshness. I can see what the fuss is about with a’bunadh, too. Mine was Batch 17, for anyone who is interested. Going back to the new make was a bit of a shock, but Chris invited us to conduct a little experiment: pour a little into our palms, rub and shake dry. The smell is pure, dry, cerealy barley! I watched two of the Frenchmen bottle their own whisky from the Sherry cask: a lovely event to spectate on, let alone perform yourself. I shall have to return and do the same. When I have money and a car! By the way, if anyone is confused by what all the stars mean, just click on ‘The Mark Scheme’ and all should be explained.

A most scenic section for a water source, and it is possible to wander up the bank, make a left and complete a loop back on to the main street.

A most scenic section for a water source, and it is possible to wander up the bank, make a left and complete a loop back on to the main street.

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Author:
saxon
Date:
April 30, 2010 um 7:24 pm
Category:
The Tours
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