Aberfeldy 16yo – 40% abv
Info: To finish off a trio of Last Great Malts related reviews, we arrive at Aberfeldy, a distillery I’ve always enjoyed ever since I had some of their whisky directly out of a cask in one of their warehouses whilst on a visit… It was one of the best drams I’ve ever had. Happily, Aberfeldy have now added and extra bottling into their core range and released a 16yo which is finished in Oloroso sherry casks. More info on SWB here.
Colour: Fairly bright and clear gold. Aberfeldy uses colouring although this seems rather more natural than some others in the range so maybe (as I know they would like) it’s now colouring free?
Nose: On the nose there’s an instant old hessian oak cask dunnage type smell about this, if you’ve been in an old fashioned warehouse you’ll know what I mean. There’s a honied tone, although maybe less than I remember from others in the range. There’s an oak sap nature, and a fist full of nuts and crushed winter berries; hints of vanilla. A slight smell of glue and smoke.
Palate: The palate is instantly sweeter than I was expecting, but at a level that balances out well with the older malts and hints of oak. It’s not overly thick but it’s got quite a morish quality, and at the low abv the extra spices from the Oloroso are toned down to what is for me, a more enjoyable level.
Finish: The palate morphs into the finish really nicely, going to a warm chest hug while also leaving sweeter notes still on the palate… both things together mean it’s rather longer than expected with caramelly sweet notes and malt hanging around with the smallest pinch of tannin in the background reminding you where this has all come from. It finishes with spices lingering for a while longer.
Thoughts: It’s been a while since I’ve had the others in the range so I can’t quite remember what’s what… that said, this does seem to stand out as an great dram. The Oloroso finish has worked well for the distillery, slightly changing the character, but in a good way. That said it’s not as overtly sherried as many an Oloroso finish I’ve had, which might be just the ticket for those who aren’t big sherry fans.
Extra: Don’t get muddled with the 16yo “Bits of Strange”, which is a special release a while back. Also, if you fancy reading more about my visit to Aberfeldy, then head here on SWB!
Available: The Whisky Exchange – £50.95
Thanks to Aberfeldy for the sample.