2016 vs. 2017 vs. 2018
Something I’ve wanted to do for a while – to find out if the Loch Ness Monster is real. Sorry, I mean if there is actually a noticeable difference between different batches of Allardice over a few years. It follows on from the Revival vs. Allardice review that I also did some months earlier. All three Allardice’s were poured into their glasses and left to sit for a short while (circa. 30 minutes)
I thought this would be an easy review, but it wasn’t as straight-forward as I’d have hoped!
Appearance: The 2016 & 2017 are almost identical. 2018 is ever-so slightly darker by the most minimal shade.
Nose: 2016 – The drier of the three. Very refined on the nose with a rich wine and candied cherry element. Sherry, grapes, furniture wax, and grassiness. 2017 – Increased appearance of warmed caramel, acetone (like pear drops) 2018 – Hardly any difference to the 2017. Maybe fractionally softer(?)
Palate: 2016 – Fantastic balance of sweetness & tartness. Very refined and grown-up. Beautiful, in fact. 2017 – Increased bitterness and less balanced than the 2016. 2018 – Hardly any noticeable difference to the 2017. Possibly a slight increase in bitterness, but it’s incredibly similar.
Finish: 2016 – Outstanding balance of sherry sweetness and oakey-tannin dryness. 2017 – More influence on the bitterness than the 2016, with a less fruity sweetness. 2018 – Almost identical to the 2017. Possibly slightly softer but it’s very close and I wonder if I’m just imagining differences.
Conclusion: The clear winner for me beyond any question is the Allardice that bottled in 2016. It’s by far the more refined out of the three, and very grown-up. And quite possibly the best Allardice I’ve had to-date. Luckily I have quite a few 2016’s..
The real difficulty was picking out any differences between the 2017 & 2018 bottles as they’re almost identical. If was to pick up any differences, they’re almost imperceptible so I’m wondering if they’re from the same vatting. If they’re not, then Rachel Barrie should get an award for maintaining an incredible level of consistency across batches.
How long had the bottles been open?
The 2016 had been open for about 3 ½ weeks ago. Fill level about halfway. The 2017 had been opened at the beginning of the week of tasting. Fill level high. The 2018 had also been opened at the beginning of the week of tasting. Fill level high.
I should also add that even in a blind tasting, the 2016 stood out. The 2017 & 2018 bottles were pretty much identical.
Bottle code dates: 2016/05/26 11:37 LK10537 2017/12/20 11:01 LL13790 2018/01/10 07:47 LL14038