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Aultmore (pronounced: OLT-mor) distillery is another blending beast that is owned by Bacardi and used primarily for their Dewar’s series of blends. There have been relatively few bottlings of Aultmore through the years although it does pop up intermittently both in official and independent forms. It is one of several distilleries that seems to inspire indifference in people which is a shame because it is often a very pleasant, quite muscular dram.
Stills: 2 Wash 2 Spirit
Water Source: Auchinderran Burn and Foggie Moss
Capacity: 2.9 Million Litres
1950s-1971: Old and Waxy.Aultmore was completely refurbished in 1970 through to 1971, so comprehensive was the operation that it is maybe just as well to think of them as two separate distilleries. Although examples from before this rebuilding are rare they do exist and if you can find them they can be quite stunning. There were official bottlings done in the 1950s, these display the most beautiful waxy, mineraled and smoky profiles, full of engine oil, green fruits, phenols and all kinds of candied fruit notes. Obviously these are very rare and expensive bottlings but if you get a chance they reveal a long lost style of Speyside/Highland whisky making, that of a difficult, unsexy and powerfully austere malt whisky.
1971-Present: The Blending Monolith Years.
During the rebuilding operation the number of stills was doubled to four, new condensers replaced the worm tubs, the stills were internally heated and the whole plant was refitted in order to produce a massive amount of new spirit for blending. The change in the spirits character is clearly evident when you taste it. Aultmore nowadays is a much softer, more classically speyside whisky, full of muscular malty tones, some soft garden fruit qualities, pear drops and some quite spicy sweet qualities.
Seeing as there is currently a lack of official examples the best Aultmores to try are the teenage independent expressions that pop up from time to time. There was also an excellent aged example from Douglas Laing recently in the shape of a 1974 36yo. Aultmore is a fun, drinkable and worthwhile whisky that is not too commonly found as a single malt so it is well worth tasting.