Aultmore

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. The...

Read more

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. The 12-year-old and 18-year-old are the main core range, occasionally augmented by older expressions and travel retail editions. 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.

Aultmore Distillery

Founded: 1896
Stills: 2 Wash, 2 Spirit
Water Source: Auchinderran Burn and Foggie Moss
Capacity: 3.2 Million Litres
Owners: Bacardi

1950s-1971: Old and Waxy

Aultmore was completely refurbished in 1970-71, and 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 of Aultmore in the 1950s, these display the most beautiful waxy, minerally 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 character of the spirit 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.

Other than the 12-year-old and 18-year-old official editions, 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 a while back in the shape of a 1974 36-year-old. Aultmore is a fun, drinkable and worthwhile whisky that is not too commonly found as a single malt, so it is well worth tasting.

Read less