Tag Archive for: Aberlour

Dram on, Dràm Mòr

The first big tasting of Dràm Mòr in Singapore and their second ever release of bottles in Autumn of 2020! Dràm Mòr is an Independent Bottler in Scotland that is owned by a husband-wife duo, Kenny and Viktorija.
Many of the bottles in this second release were finished in fortified wine or wine casks for 4 months! This decision for a short duration finish was not unfounded as well! Kenny sought the advice of Whisky legend Jim McEwan and told Kenny to watch closely over 1st fill wine casks. This is most likely due to the spicy notes the active wine cask might impart on the whisky if it aged any longer.

Glen Garioch 8yo 2011 (Cask #2697) 55%
Glen Garioch 8yo 2011 (Cask #2697)
Glen Garioch 8yo 2011 (Cask #2697)

We started the night with a full-term refill bourbon. There was a time I used to find full-term bourbon maturation like from Cadenhead to be boring. What a fool I was #cringe. What I know now is that a light bourbon maturation can allow the spirit character to develop and shine through!

For this Glen Garioch, I’m glad it did! I get the herbal orange peel that I associated with the Official Bottlings of Glen Garioch, but with so much more characteristics! There’s a toasted cereal note, peaches, a hint of salinity, with a mouthfeel you can chew on! It’s a lovely anytime kind of dram!

Aberlour 7yo 2012 (#F800914) 54%
Aberlour 7yo 2012 (Dràm Mòr)
Aberlour 7yo 2012 (Dràm Mòr)

This Aberlour spent 7 and a half years in refill bourbon with a 4 month dry Madeira finish. The Aberlour A’bunadh series inspired Dràm Mòr to do a young cask strength Aberlour! This decision for a short finish was an excellent one. In 4 months, the influence of the wine is clearly much stronger, with only a touch of spice from the oak. This works well because the strawberry jam preserve notes of the Aberlour spirit character works with the dry cranberry notes, pepper and raspberries, along with the honey and floral notes from the prior bourbon maturation.

Glenrothes 9yo 2011 (#2850)
Glenrothes 9yo 2011 (#2850)
Glenrothes 9yo 2011 (#2850)

One of two Glenrothes in this Autumn release, this spent 8 years and 8 months in refill bourbon, before finishing in Spanish Red Wine casks for 4 months. This was a beautiful balance between the influence of the red wine and the European oak. Even the folks at Glenrothes distillery gave Kenny the stamp of approval!
In my personal opinion and preference, this dram probably needs some time to open up. Initial top notes of gunpowder which will fade away with time, so if you love your sulphur notes, you might not want to wait. This Glenrothes offers notes of honey, a whiff of chocolate, with oranges, red berries, figs and nuttiness!

Glenrothes 9yo 2011 (#2851)
Glenrothes 9yo 2011 (#2851)
Glenrothes 9yo 2011 (#2851)

This Glenrothes spent 8 years and 8 months in refill bourbon, before finishing in Moscatel Wine casks for 4 months. If it feels like Déjà vu, that’s because both Glenrothes are sister casks! Moscatel Wine casks are not as popular in whisky, but this is a damn good example! People who know me know that I do not particularly enjoy the spirit character of Glenrothes, but this dram is probably the first young Glenrothes that I have thoroughly enjoyed!
This dram offers golden pears, with honey and vanilla sweetness coming from the bourbon maturation. Moreover, the wine cask influence is very nuanced, with hints of toasted nuts, tart apples and a whiff of Nutella! One of the participants in the tasting even got Jasmine flowers! This is definitely a beautiful dessert dram.

Tomintoul 15yo 2005 (#32)
Tomintoul 15yo 2005 (#32)
Tomintoul 15yo 2005 (#32)

This gentle dram spent 15 years and 4 months in a rather shy refill sherry butt, and 4 months in a 1st fill Sauternes Wine Cask! These 15 years in the refill sherry butt gave a gentle maturation, and most importantly, it cultivated the gentle spirit character of the Tomintoul. Distilleries Director of Angus Dundee, Robert Flemming, who oversees Tomintoul and Glencadam, loved this dram when he asked Kenny for a sample of this! If the people who make this whisky liked it, then you know Dràm Mòr did Tomintoul right!
This gentle dram offer notes of sugary sweetness, freshly cut grass in spring, pears, white raisins, tart apples and pears, notes of a buttery pie crust and hints of salinity.

In this Autumn release, Dràm Mòr shows that flavourful whisky doesn’t necessarily need to be peated, or heavily sherried or old. I also do enjoy their stance on not chill filtering and not adding colour! If you wish to purchase these bottles, do give Spirits Castle a visit, and if you wish to find out more about Dràm Mòr and their latest December 2020 Christmas release, check it out here!

Whisky Review #79 – Battle of Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 19 & 20

Fans of Aberlour A’Bunadh loves the deep sherry and caramel notes of these beautiful sherry bombs. We know that these are favourites among many whisky lovers just by looking at the sheer number of releases of the Aberlour A’Bunadh. The current release appears to be Batch 61!

We tasted two older batches of the Aberlour A’Bunadh, namely Batch 19 and Batch 20. The liquids are quite different, which prompted us to do a battle of the Aberlour A’Bunadh – Batch 19 VS Batch 20.

How would they stack up against each other? Let’s find out!

The battle starts now:

Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 19

Abv: 59.9%

Neat from the bottle
The nose is full of sweet sherry, cherry liquorice and caramel. There is a hint of raspberries (sourness) and blackcurrant sweetness hiding in the corners. Some spice lurks in the background, and no sulphur is detected. The mouthfeel is oily with sweet berries and spice mixing together at the first sip. The spice leads the way, which is unpleasant but it goes away quickly, leaving a burst of cherries and blackcurrant sweetness! The sweetness coats the mouth on the second sip to give superbly rich, sherried notes and caramel. Rich and fruity! The finish is slightly disappointing as it is not as long as expected. It gets a little dry towards the end but is enjoyable.

With a drop of water
The spice increases with a drop of water when we nose it. The sweetness does not change and still makes for a lovely nose despite the increased spice. The water dilutes the spice on the palate, making it acceptable with the first sip. The fruity sweetness takes full control, with the berries in the limelight. The sherry and caramel coat the mouth beautifully. The finish lengthens with a drop of water, which improves it by leaps and bounds. Even if the sweetness in the finish reduces, the water did wonder to the finish.

With 15 minutes of airing
Wow! The spice is almost gone, but the sweetness of sherry and caramel deepen. The dark berries dance around the nose playfully. The cherry liquorice and blackcurrants are exceptionally strong in the nose, but interestingly, the hint of raspberries intensify as well. Fantastic nose! The palate and finish did not change from the taste we get when we first try it neat from the bottle.

Batch 19 is exceptionally balanced with all the right notes in place for us. It is a typical sherry bomb, but with more surprises! The only thing that we did not like is the spice initially, but it improves with water and airing. It is very enjoyable indeed!

Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 20

Abv: 60.5%

Neat from the bottle
Strong spice leads the nose and makes it almost impossible to get any other notes. There are caramel and sherry initially, but the spice overwhelms them almost instantly. We detect faint cherry notes and sulphur in the background, but nothing is certain. The palate is full of spice and caramel. The mouthfeel is drier than Batch 19, and the sweetness is a lot more mellow. While we get the caramel in the palate, the sherry notes are less prominent, making it a little disappointing. It almost feels like the whisky is somewhat flat. The finish is short and sulphuric! The caramel sweetness disappears in a flash and sulphur takes over completely.

With a drop of water
The spice becomes stronger, and the sweetness of the caramel, sherry and cherry is almost all but gone in the nose. It is quite horrible unless you happened to like rubbing chilli on the nose. Water does not seem to improve the palate in batch 20 as well. While the caramel appears to increase a little, but the change is minimal. The finish is still short and sulphuric with no changes even after a drop of water.

With 15 minutes of airing
Wow! Airing makes a lot of differences to the Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 20. We detect no spice on the nose, and cherry liquorice replaces it. The sherry and caramel notes are also prominent now. In the palate, the spice returns in full force, but together with the spice comes the sweetness of the sherry and caramel. It is a beautiful combination! The finish is still disappointing though. While airing lengthens the finish, it causes it to become even more tannic and sulphuric.

The Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 20 is rather disappointing. While it appears to be balanced, the notes that we get are not a typical sherry bomb. If we compare it to a sherry bomb, it lacks in many departments.

The Result of the Battle

We declare Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 19 as the winner of this battle. The expression is more robust and balanced as compared to Batch 20 and honestly, much more pleasant to drink. The complexity is evident and beautiful to catch. On the other hand, Batch 20 appears to be more challenging and is less robust. The one thing that we dislike is definitely the sulphur that comes with it.



Geek Choc loves to mix things around. He is the unofficial mixologist at WhiskyGeeks, so he decides to mix things up after the comparison and see what happens. He pours 10ml of Batch 19 (with a drop of water) and 10ml of Batch 20 (with a drop of water) into a new glass. Now, let’s see what the notes are like!

Nose: Sweet caramel, sherry and dark berries with hints of muskiness and sulphur. Faint vanilla (what??) floats in the background with some spice.

Palate: Straight spice but it is not overwhelming like either of the drams on their own. Then surprise strikes! Strong vanilla taste appears for a while before strong sherry notes rush in at the back of the throat. There is cherry liquorice, caramel, dark raisins and berries hitting all the right spots. The mouth is warm and pleasant. Very yummy! Oh, and there is no sulphur!

Finish: It is long and sherried. Superbly pleasant but it does get very dry in the end. Sadly, the sulphur came back at the end too.

Body: Balanced! Wow, this seems like an experiment gone RIGHT! We thought batch 19 will overpower batch 20 but looks like batch 20 held its weight. The combination takes both whiskies’ good points and makes it excellent. That extra vanilla note was a real surprise too!

Conclusion for the blend:

Batch 19 is better than batch 20 as concluded earlier but batch 20 stood up to the test in a blend. The two batches also created a new profile when mixed, which is a pleasant surprise! We expected 19 to overwhelm 20, but looks like we are wrong, in a good way! Experience successful!

A Visit to Pernod Ricard’s Office Bar

The new Reception at Pernod Ricard Singapore

Geek Flora and Geek Choc visited Pernod Ricard Singapore recently for a drink with their Assistant Brand Community Manager, Denis English. It was our first time to the office bar, and we were excited to find out how it looks like. When we reached the office lobby, we found Denis patiently waiting for us outside the office! That was a great welcome!

The Walk to the Bar

Denis walked us into the office, and the first thing that greeted us was the magnificent reception that you see at the top of this post. We understand that Pernod Ricard renovated the office and they have just recently reopened the bar as well. At one corner of the large reception area, there is a sofa with some splendid posters. This is the waiting area.

Pernod Ricard’s Waiting Area


Check out the posters. They are gorgeous!

We turned into a corridor where there is a wall filled with their products. There is a selection of fine wines, cognac, whiskies, gins, vodka, tequila and rum. Here’s a picture to show you how the wall looks like.


The Whisky_Cognac Wall

Pernod Ricard’s Office Bar

This beautiful corridor leads to a vast, open space that house the Pernod Ricard’s office bar. This is how it looks.

Denis behind the bar counter

Pernod Ricard uses the bar for training within the company and industry. Denis shared that the company trains bartenders, bar owners, bar managers and their trade partners in the bar. Of course, employees have access to the bar and they can “drop-by” after work for a drink or two.

Besides the bar counter, there is an open area that can hold up to say about 30 people by our judgement.

Appealing Open Area in the bar

The office bar is a good place for employees to relax after a hard day’s work with some whiskies, cognac or gin. The bar is well-stocked, and there are various delicious blended and single malts that we spy from our seats at the counter. We spent a long time here to understand more about the whisky range of Pernod Ricard and of course, chatting about whiskies!

The Tasting Session

Denis filled the evening with lovely whiskies and his generosity as we sample drinks after drinks. We started with two special bottlings of the Chivas Regal – the Extra and the Mizunara. We then moved on to the Royal Salute 21 Years, Ballantine’s and the single malts.

The range of whiskies we tasted

The Chivas Range

Those of you who know me (Geek Flora) personally will know that I am not a huge fan of the Mizunara cask as I am not fond of incense in my whisky. The Chivas Regal Mizunara is of course, not something I am so keen to try. It is finished in Mizunara casks for three to six months, so I am wary of the incense notes when I nose it. Interestedly, the incense here is fragrant and well, not so intense! I get the vanilla more than the incense. You could say that it is a welcoming change, but it is still not as outstanding as the Chivas Regal Extra.

Now, the Chivas Regal Extra is made up of mostly sherry-cask whiskies. That shows up quickly in the nose and palate where sherry notes and caramel fight for the limelight. Although it is a 40% blended whisky, it holds up to the test when we leave the whisky in the glass to air. After about 45 minutes of airing in a Glencairn glass, the whisky opens up beautifully with deep sherry notes, caramel, hints of vanilla and gentle spice. It does not taste like a 40% anymore. It is fantastic! What is even better is the fact that the whisky costs only SGD$85. Perfect for a party, don’t you think so?

The Royal Salute 21 Years is a famous expression that many whisky drinkers enjoy. It is easy to drink and looks royal sitting in those ceramic decanters. We had more than just a sip of the Royal Salute 21 years and enjoyed the oily, sweet palate as the whisky slid gently down the throat.

The Ballantine’s 17 Years Old

We want to highlight the Ballantine’s 17 Years Old here because it is not a popular brand in Singapore. It is well-loved in Taiwan, and our Taiwanese friends love the brand. We requested to have a taste of it, and Denis generously opened a new bottle just for us to try.

Ballantine’s is spicier than the Chivas, which makes us think that the blend is likely to contain more whiskies aged in ex-bourbon casks. There is also a possibility of having some rye in it. The flavours are also more prominent. Slightly grassy, with green fruits such as apples, pears and even some grapes in it. Even the finish is longer than the Chivas, with dry sweetness leading all the way till the end.

The Single Malts

Pernod Ricard carries many single malts that go into their blends. Some of the single malts include The Glenlivet, Aberlour, Strathisla, Allt-a-Bhainne and Braeval. Glen Keith, Longmorn, Glenburgie and Glentauchers are also part of their portfolio. With so many single malts under their belt, Pernod Ricard’s position as the second largest company of wine and spirit in the world is not at all surprising.

We tried the Aberlour 12 and the Stathisla 12. Interestedly, we had tried whiskies from both distilleries before, but never an official bottling. It was a perfect chance for us to try them out indeed!

The Aberlour 12 is delicious with plenty of sherry and caramel notes. What is unique about this expression is the grape notes that I picked up on the palate, almost like red wine. We found out later that this expression is not the usual 12 years old, but one of the limited editions. Talk about it being a special one!

The Strathisla 12 has more bourbon influence, and the oak is stronger too. Perhaps the distillate is lighter and takes in more influence from the cask. Nonetheless, it was a lovely dram that speaks of creamy vanilla, mild oak and a little spice.

A Tour around the Office

After some drams, Denis invited us for a tour around the office. They have themed meeting rooms which impressed us very much with the beautiful decorations and practical use of the various items within the rooms. They have a Perrier Jouet room, a Chivas Room, a Monkey 47 Room, a Jameson Room and a secret Martell Room! Outside the rooms, there is also an open area where employees can discuss matters over a cup of coffee or a game played in a sandpit!

Open Area and Sandpit


Perrier Jouet Room


Monkey 47 Gin Room


Jameson Room


Display at the Martell Secret Room

It was a pity that I failed to take a full picture of the secret Martell room, but well, it was a thrill to find it! Haha!

The Last Drop before Leaving

As we headed back to the bar to pick up our things, Denis found an open bottle of the Chivas Royal Salute – The Polo Collection. As it is a special edition, Denis invited us to sit down again for a taste of it. It is different from the usual Royal Salute. The Polo Collection has a spicy tinge to it and opens up a delicate, floral flavour. The nose is perfumey and gentle, almost like a soft touch from a rose petal.

Royal Salute Polo Collection

It was time to say goodbye after the last drop as the night was deepening. We bid good night to Denis and thank him for the wonderful evening. We look forward to seeing Denis again and hope to work with him in future!

As for you, our dear readers, we hope to bring you some superb deals from Pernod Ricard too!


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