stats: single malt scotch, Speyside, 86 proof, $34
I started to write the Glenfarclas 12yr post last week, and got half way through it when I had to close the laptop and head out to dinner with my parents who were visiting for a few days. I was suffering palate fatigue when I got home, and it was a few days before I got around to finishing up that post. But I had capped off that interruptive meal with a glass of 12yr Aberlour. And that got me thinking……Glenfarclas, Aberlour and Macallan are all very similar in style (originating in Speyside, little or no peating, and aged almost exclusively in Sherry casks)…..comparisons are in order. Ultimately, I’d like to do a triple three way comparison – the 12yr offering of each, the cask strength version of each, and Glenfarclas 17yr / Macalan 18yr / Aberlour 16yr (or Aberlour 18, if I can find one). That will take time and money, but in the meantime I do have a bottle of 10yr Aberlour lurking in the back row of the Scotch shelf, and that borrowed bottle of 12yr Glenfarclas hasn’t been returned yet. A few years ago the standard Aberlour lineup had a 10yr and a 15yr. The 10yr is still available but a little harder to find than the newer 12yr, and the 15yr has been replaced by a 16yr. There is also the above mentioned 18yr.
The night I started the post on the 12yr Glenfarclas (and comparing it to the 25yr), there was a gap of at least 2 hours before my post-meal 12yr Aberlour. Not quite a side-by-side tasting, but the Aberlour definitely stood out as being lighter and quite a bit fruitier.
The Aberlour 10yr and the Glenfarclas 12yr are almost identical in color. While the nose on the ‘farclas is heavy, thick and malty, the nose on the Aberlour is lighter and thinner (but not in a bad way), and a bit minty. On the palate, the Aberlour is surprisingly a little fiery with warming spice notes (mint, cinnamon, etc). There is a fruit element there, but it stays in the background relative to the spiciness. The finish of the Aberlour is quite long with the spice notes slowly tapering off. The Glenfarclas is quite malty out of the gate then meanders into a bit of spiciness, with hints of fruit showing through late in the finish. The 10yr Aberlour is not nearly as fruit forward as I remember the 12yr Aberlour to be. While I do find this to be an enjoyable malt, I would give a slight edge to the 12yr offerings from Aberlour and Glenfarclas.