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?
John Dewar & Sons unveils its latest expression from The Golden Dram – Aberfeldy 16 Years Old.
Aberfeldy 16 Years Old is entirely finished in premium Oloroso sherry casks, allowing a sumptuous and more pronounced sherry accent to the malt, giving a suggestion of dried fruit and spicy notes that only the finest of quality casks contribute.
Built by the Dewar family in 1898, the distillery is one of a handful remaining in Perthshire. The house style is rich but smooth and accessible with an emphasis on notes of honey. The long fermentation time of 70 hours allows for greater flavour development as an extended fermentation encourages the creation of more esters which in turn give the whisky fruitiness.
February and March saw two sets of single cask releases from Wemyss Malts, a bumper crop which includes two bottlings at cask strength. Click here to see information about the bottings
“Kirsch Gateau” 1988 single cask from Bunnahabhain Distilery, Islay, Cask Strength
“Cacao Geyser” 1998 single cask from Bowmore Distillery, Islay
“Snuffed Candle” 1999 singe cask from Aberfeldy Distillery, Highlands
“Dark Treacle Fondant” 2002 single cask from Craigellachie Distillery, Speyside
“Honeysuckle Bower” 1995 single cask from Linkwood Distillery, Speyside
“Caribbean Crème” 1988 single cask from Invergordon Distillery, grain
“The Rockpool” 1995 single cask from Bowmore Distilery, Islay, Cask Strength
“Foraged Fruit Fool” 1991 single cask from Blair Athol Distillery, Highlands
“Toffee Tuile” 1999 singe cask from Aberfeldy Distillery, Highlands
“Kumquat Cluster” 1993 single cask from Glenrothes Distillery, Speyside
“Stem Ginger Preserve” 1995 single cask from Mortlach Distillery, Speyside
“Rhubarb Royale” 2001 single cask from Benrinnes Distillery, Speyside
I’ve been lucky enough to able to review six of the recent releases, so without further ado, let’s take a look at my thoughts…
Aberfeldy 18 Year Old – 40% ABV
Info: Sadly it’s Travel Retail (i.e. airports only). This is the updated packaging for the brand; I like it!
Colour: Golden Caramelly Amber.
Nose: Sweet, aged, medium oaks and puffs of smoke with autumnal fruits and nuts. Very relaxed.
Palate: Instantly rewarding with honeyed sweetness, gentle malt and smooth oak. A touch thin in terms of oils and mouthfeel.
Finish: Fresh going to creamy sweet. Quite long.
Thoughts: It may not blow your socks off with complexity (that’s fine by me!), but I could drink a bottle of this very happily, and may well look one out if I visit an airport! However it would be better with a thicker mouthfeel, i.e. non-chill filtered with a higher ABV. Compared with the 21 year old, I would pick this one as it’s got an easier finish without the tannin tartness, it’s easier to drink and enjoy.
Thanks to my friend Dave over at WhiskyDiscovery for the sample.
Aberfeldy 21 Year Old – 40% ABV
Info: This is the slightly older bottling; since I got this there has been a packaging update, but the liquid reviewed is the same stuff. This bottling was heralded as the Best Mainland Single Malt at the World Whisky Awards 2007.
Colour: A medium dark amber, kind of caramelly.
Nose: A slightly heathery floral note, honied (honeycombe), wisps of smoke, slight orange marmalade tones.
Palate: Smooth, a little thin, easy going. The puffs of smoke are still there among the honey, vanilla and slightly spiced caramelised oranges.
Aberfeldy – TBWC Batch 1 – NAS – 47%
Colour: Full gold.
Nose: Sweet, malty, slightly salty which tails off after a while revealing woody notes which seem fairly fresh, newly sawn oak. Slight vanilla and a hint of earth.
Palate: Sweeter than the nose suggests, it’s quite smooth for the abv, possibly suggesting some reasonable ages within? Gently spiced and fairly oily with a good mouthfeel (if only the official bottles could be non chill-filtered!). Soft fruits amongst vanilla fudge.
Three recent Wemyss Malts reviewed
Edinburgh based boutique Spirits Company Wemyss Malts (pronounced ‘Weems’) comes from the Gaelic word for caves which stems from the rocky outcrop on the Firth of Forth on which our family home, Wemyss Castle, sits. They’re a well respected independent whisky bottler, and soon to be distillery owner with Kingsbarns Distillery in the building (as I write this).
I’ve been lucky enough to review three Wemyss Malts releases, a 1991 Glen Scotia a 1994 Aberfeldy and a 1997 Clynelish.