Whisky Review: Aberfeldy 18 Years Old
Category: Highland single malt scotch whisky
Origin: Aberfeldy Distillery
Bottling: Official – John Dewar & Sons/Bacardi Ltd.
Cost: £78.89 from Master of Malt
What they say:
Launched in April 2014 Aberfeldy 18 Years Old joins the existing travel retail Aberfeldy variants, which comprises a 12-year-old and 21-year-old.
Rose gold in colour, the 18-year-old is described as a medium to full-bodied single malt, with citrus zest, honey and sweetness “akin to Moroccan cake”.
“Bacardi has an amazing opportunity with single malts. Our distilleries produce sublime whiskies,” said Mike Birch, managing director of Bacardi global travel retail.
“Single malts are enjoying a massive surge in popularity right now as collectors and connoisseurs seek out the new and the rare. We’re leveraging that power with a strong innovation pipeline for the category, gathering pace to craft a range of superb travel retail exclusives.
“Building on our success in white spirits, we are equally ambitious as a major player in the whisky category and our recent launches are testament to the energy and drive we’ll be injecting. We’re confident the Aberfeldy range is set for success.”
The Aberfeldy range has undergone a bottle and package redesign to “reflect the hand-crafted nature” of Aberfeldy Single Malt. Gold lettering represents the birthplace of John Dewar and the whisky’s water source, the Pitilie Burn, a source of sedimentary gold. The bottle itself displays the Royal Warrant, which has been held by John Dewar & Sons since 1893, the only Scotch whisky distiller to continuously hold a Royal Warrant since the reign of Queen Victoria.
What I say:
I’m sure we have mentioned it in previous Aberfeldy posts but farewell Red Squirrel, a hangover from Aberfeldys time under DCl/Diageo rulership and part of the Flora and Fauna range of bottlings. The hardy, emblematic Red Squirrel survived previous cuts and packaging changes but finally as part of their Last Great Malts drive, new owners Bacardi have finally sent him to while out his days in the ancient Caledonian Pine Forests of the Tay valley. Personally despite the loss of the squirrel I quite like the packaging of the new range of single malts, opening up previously unavailable distilleries with official bottlings and each Distiller range unique but with good continuity of design within their expressions and age-statements. This 18 Year Old from Aberfeldy, the Home of Dewars, was destined for Travel Retail.
Dark copper gold (11/20), medium tears and thick legs
Sherried/sherry influence from the outset, with fruity strawberries and cream, plum and raisin red fruits, vanilla , then a that gentle biscuity Aberfeldy malt, more creaminess, some yellow plum and apple like cider apple jelly, lemon curd and lemon verbena complete the descent into citrus and herbality.
Medium-bodied soft and creamy, grassy hay, dried apple pieces, vanilla, lemon curd, lemon cream/foam, malty cereal barley, brewer’s crystal malt, oily and buttery in places, reminiscent of lemon butter and fresh ginger paste, soft or relaxed suede leather describes best the tannins, a sprinkle of nutmeg livens things up.
Medium length, milk chocolate, cereals and oak wood
Creamy with a good hint of citrus, still in that very relaxed/subtle Aberfeldy style, I think I was looking for more depth and something more to ruminate over in this dram which didn’t quite appear. I get the feeling this was constructed to appeal to Dewars blend drinkers as a transitional or entry-level aged malt for those tempted to dip their toe out of blends and into the single malt category. Thoroughly pleasing and well made but lacking oomph or a certain je ne sais quoi.
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