Our tour guide was James Fleming. He was very knowledgeable and also a Monty Python fan. He appreciated Todd bringing his own coconuts to Doune Castle.
At the beginning of the tour we tasted a 12 year.
*Aberlour 12 year 43% ABV Aged in bourbon (80%) and finished in sherry (20%)
-smelled sweet cough syrup and wood
-tasted sweet on the front of my tongue
-with water became lighter sweet with a touch of pepper
One of the cool things about this tour was the being able to smell the Foreshots, Hearts, Feints and a control sample. Normally these are just talked about and maybe even shown in a bottle. We got to stick our noses in it.
*Foreshots 90% ABV Undrinkable!
It is what comes out between distillings to clean out the pipes. There is a lot of copper in it. It smelled like cleaning fluid and burned our eyes and sinuses. Adding water clouded it up and made it smell like old brake fluid.
*Hearts 64%-74% ABV
It smelled floral sweet with a tinge of sour. Adding water made it smell surprisingly sweeter with no sourness .
*Feints 55% ABV
It smelled like a floral, waxy cleaning fluid. I smelled decaying flowers as well. Adding water made it smell like week old vase water, mildewy.
*Control 69.8% ABV
It smelled of wood with slightly sour floral scent. Water changed the smell to wood with a lemon, citrusy scent.
We did get to taste some expressions after ruining our sense of smell with rotten flowers and cleaning fluid. If I remember correctly we also had some chocolates that were supposed to complement each dram. I tasted first and ate the chocolates later.
#1 New Spirit Control Sample (For some reason I have noted 6 year. Doesn’t make sense.)
-smelled faintly sour floral with wood
-tasted a touch of dry oatmeal with a tinge of flour
-with water smelled sour floral again
-tasted peppery wood and trailed quickly
#2 Aberlour 18 year 43% ABV (80% Olorosso Sherry/20% Bourbon)
-smelled sherry/wine with a sweetness
-tasted bitter like a chardonnay at first and trailed sweeter
-left an oak taste
-with water smelled floral and woody
-tasted sweet wood, much lighter flavor
#3 Aberlour Cask Strength 16 year 54.4% ABV (Mostly bourbon/sherry)
-smelled slightly sour bourbon, no floral
-tasted sweet chalky, peppery in the middle and trailed bourbon
-with water smelled slightly floral/wine scent (no bourbon)
-tasted bourbon all the way through
#4 Aberlour Cask Strength Single Cask 16 year 54.4% ABV (Mostly sherry/bourbon)
-smelled sour wood
-tasted peppery at first then sweet wood into a sherry flavor
-with water smelled sour wood
-tasted sweet peppery wood that moved into a sherry and oak