The Brown Spirits of #WhiskyWednesday: Aberlour, Glenlivet, and Powers
On one of the last warm Wednesday’s of the year, whisky enthusiasts were invited for an afternoon tasting and lunch at CC Lounge in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood of Toronto. Hosted by Corby Distilleries, one of Canada’s oldest and seemingly busiest marketing and distribution companies in spirits and imported wines, the group experienced some of the latest and greatest to hit the LCBO shelves this fall.
The tasting included an assortment of delicious brown spirits that featured Aberlour, Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve, Powers, Gooderham & Worts, and J.P. Wisers Hopped and Double Still Rye.
After presentations and one-on-one chats with each brand ambassador, it was obvious that this curated whisky collection had a steady constant of complexity meets comfort. Nearly each whisky had a lengthy and bold history of distillation, whether blended or single malted. As such, the end result was rich in scents yet smooth in consumption, followed by a second sip that further blossomed in flavour with a single drop of water. Each whisky carried its own unique characteristics and finishings that I needed to catalogued separately.
Like most tastings, a few of the spirits stuck out as instant favourites. Make space in your cabinets because these are a must.
Aberlour 12 Year Old
Steeped in centuries of legend and surrounded by the dramatic Highland scenery of Ben Rinnes, the village of Aberlour lies at the very heart of Speyside, where the Lour burn joins the River Spey. The exceptionally pure, soft spring water used for making Aberlour whisky is drawn from nearby natural springs.
In this special place, the resources of nature and the founder’s passion for making the best single malt combine to make the generously multi-layered whiskies of Aberlour. The distillery was founded by James Flemming in 1879.
Most Aberlour single malts are double cask matured. The spirit is matured separately in the best quality ex-sherry butts and ex-bourbon casks for the required period of time. When it is ready to be bottled, whisky from the two types of casks is brought together for the first time and the different flavours and textures are subtly merged.
From this intricate process of double casking emerges a single malt of rewarding complexity and character. This is a revelation for the enthusiast: a wide spectrum of flavours to discover, time after time.
Colour: Golden amber with hints of ruby red
Nose: Very soft and rounded with fruity notes of red apples
Palate: Sherried character and fruity aromas balanced with a rich chocolate, toffee, cinnamon and ginger spiciness
Finish: Warming and lingering. Sweet and very slightly spicy
This uniquely shaped bottled scotch whisky is a pleasant upgrade from the 10 year at a relative price point. If sweet and smooth is your thing, you just can’t go wrong with the Aberlour 12 Year.
$59.95 at the LCBO
The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve
A taste of the original vision:
Inspired by pioneering founder George Smith’s original vision the expression is a celebration of the heart and soul of the single malt that started it all, almost 200 years in the making.
Founder’s Reserve is distilled in the classic, but unique, The Glenlivet lantern shaped copper stills and then matured in First Fill American oak casks to bring out a delicious creamy sweetness. The result is a single malt Scotch whisky of exceptional smoothness; the very quality for which George Smith’s The Glenlivet was widely admired and appreciated for in his day.
Colour: Pale gold.
Nose: Delicate aromas of citrus fruit, notably
Palate: Sweet, fruit notes of zesty oranges
and pears, with a hint of candy, toffee apples.
Well-balanced and exceptionally smooth.
Finish: Long, creamy and smooth.
Don’t let the lack of age fool you. This blended whisky comes equipped with a tasty finish that brings back over a century of history in each sip.
Powers Gold Label
Powers Gold Label is a complex spice and honeyed experience. Every drop is triple distilled, with more cut from the top and tail of the second and third Pot Still charges. This means only the purest heart of the distillate is captured. Left to mature in selected American oak casks, this is where the unique, spicy rounded flavour begins to develop. The unique Powers filter technique enables a non-chill filter at 43.2% ABV. This allows Powers Gold Label to retain the full richness of its unmistakable taste.
Nose: Cinnamon, clove oil and white pepper in balance with russet apples and ripe pears, on a background on charred oak
Taste: Cinnamon, green peppers and a touch of nutmeg combined with orchard fruits, vanilla and toasted oak. All laid upon a crisp barley core
Finish: Long Pot Still oils and spices slowly fade to rich barley and toasted wood
If Jameson, which shares the same distillery, had an older, more gentlemanly brother, its name would be Powers. It shares similar yet smoother flavours, but with virtually none of the harsh, younger realities of Jameson.
$39.95 at the LCBO. Available October 2015.