Aberfeldy Distillery is a Scotch whisky distillery located in the town of Aberfeldy, in the heart of Scotland’s whisky country, Perthshire. The distillery was founded in 1896 by John Dewar & Sons, and it is now owned by Bacardi Limited. Their core range goes from a 12-year-old to a 21-year-old, and Aberfeldy is also the core of Dewar’s White Label blend. Let’s review the 16-year-old from the Aberfeldy core range and put it against a 15-year-old Exceptional Cask.
Aberfeldy 16-year-old Review
We start with the 16-year-old, in the middle of the core range between the 12 and the 21-year-old. This Aberfeldy 16-year-old is matured a first fill, refill and recharred ex-bourbon casks, and then finished for six months in first-fill oloroso sherry casks. It’s bottled at 40% ABV, with chill filtration and colouring. Expect to pay about €75 in France for a bottle and £60 in the UK.
The nose is fruity and sweet at first, with some confectionery, pear and green apple. The sweetness comes also from honey, but the bees didn’t bring just that it seems, as beeswax and propolis are also quite noticeable. Light wood notes are displayed with soft spices and stay in check.
The nose let you have some hope… however, upon tasting, the palate is unfortunately quite thin and not as full-bodied as the nose initially suggested. Along with the sweet notes of barley sugar, caramel and honey, there is also a hint of prickly spices, such as chili pepper, which adds a bit of a spicy kick. The fruit notes present on the nose seem to have dissipated on the palate, replaced instead by a soft wood bitterness.
The finish of this whisky is characterised by a honey-like sweetness that carries over from the palate. There is also a hint of wood present on the finish, and that’s about it. The finish is of medium length, lasting for a decent amount of time before dissipating.
The nose of this whisky initially gave hope for a pleasant moment, with its fruity and sweet aromas of honey. However, the palate was a disappointment due to the low alcohol by volume and chill filtration, which negatively impacted the taste and mouthfeel. The finish also failed to impress, adding no additional qualities to the whisky. Overall, this whisky is unremarkable and can be easily passed over for a more enjoyable option.
Aberfeldy 15-year-old Exceptional Cask Series Review
Our second dram from Aberfeldy is a 15-year-old from their Exceptional Cask Series. This is a small batch of 4800 bottles, taken from six casks (casks number 508, 511, 520, 521, 522 and 524). The whisky spent its first twelve years of maturation in ex-bourbon casks, before a three years sherry finish. It was bottled at 43% ABV, so slightly higher than the 16-year-old reviewed above, but still with chill filtration and colouring.
The nose is quite light and delicate, with prominent notes of honey and sweet sherry. There are also hints of red fruits, vanilla, and orange flavoured candy. In the background, there are soft and distant spices that add a subtle depth to the overall aroma. The wood is also present, but it is light and subtle.
The palate is met with a bitter and cardboard-y arrival, with winey notes that are quite prominent. There is significantly more wood present on the palate compared to the nose. There is also a touch of sweetness and spices, with hints of ginger and pepper adding some warmth. A few cashew nut notes add a creamy and nutty character to the overall flavour. While the whisky is not as thin as expected, it still has quite a light mouthfeel.
The finish is warm and comforting, with light orange and wood notes. The taste disappears quite quickly but leaving behind a warmth that lingers for a bit longer.
In conclusion, this whisky is far from exceptional. While it is possible that the casks used to age it were of high quality, the final result falls short of any expectations. The nose is light and lacks complexity, the palate is woody and cardboardy, and the finish is unremarkable. Overall, the whisky is boring and disappointing, failing to offer any truly exceptional characteristics. It is clear that this whisky is not living up to its potential, and it falls far short of any expectations of excellence.