At the time of this writing, there are five official bottlings which Aberlour offers. There’s a 10 year, 12 year, 16 year, 18 year and a no age statement release called A’bunadh. I haven’t seen the 10 or the 18 anywhere local. I’ve heard rumors that the 10 is discontinued for the US market and the 18 only reached American shores a few years ago, so is still catching up… but I never bothered to ask anyone important about it, so don’t quote me on that.
Flavor and aroma profiles often vary expression to expression as the distillers play around with the reagents used to blend their different releases. They might choose different cask types or ratios of casks, changing very significant parts of their whisky and leaving the uninitiated a tad confused as to what exactly age does for a dram. In this case, the jump from Aberlour’s 12 year expression to their 16 year seems rather linear. You’ll find a few new flavors in one or the other, but I suspect it has more to do with noticing different concentrations of flavors that the cask had more time to impart or mute. These are relatively similar whiskies and illustrate well the transformation that takes place in the cask.
Let’s not talk about the caramel coloring, okay? I like these guys.
Nose: More red grapes in the top notes. Ripe fruit syrup when you get your nose in the glass. Sweeter still. More concentrated bananas and pineapple than the 12 year. Leather and men’s cologne in droves. Orange, cinnamon and nutmeg. Apples and sugar toast.
Palate: Lots of honey. Raisins. Spiced cider with a minty finish and a bit of tobacco. Lots more sherry dryness in the finish, too, before black pepper makes an appearance.
Both are very fruity but this one is richer and has lots more spice than the 12. Either way, Aberlour makes some easy drinking Scotch whisky.