Fettercairn 16 Years Old 1st Release

Fettercairn 16 Years Old 1st Release (46.4%, OB, 2020)

  • ABV: 46.4%
  • Age: 16 Years Old
  • Bottling: OB, GTR
  • Category: Highland single malt scotch whisky
  • Cost: £69
  • Origin: Fettercairn distillery
  • Vintage: undeclared

Fettercairn 16yo bottle carton White background_1L pack

What they say

See press release here: Fettercairn distillery unveils new 16 Years Old

Official tasting notes:

  • COLOUR Amber honey with soft harvest highlights
  • TASTE Vanilla and ginger, with sun-kissed raisins
  • FINISH Succulent peach, ginger and caramel gives way to banana, with chocolate and demerara sugar delivering a perfect finish.

What I say

The inaugural batch of Fettercairn’s new 16 Years Old expression. Released generally and to global travel retail, this expression fills the giant leap between the new range 12yo and the 28yo (both of which previously reviewed – see our Fettercairn index page). During my visit to the distillery – which just so happened to be a phenomenal press trip and focus group around the rebranding and relaunch of Fettercairn as a single malt from Whyte & Mackay – we sampled a fair number of casks in the warehouse of a variety of ages as well as these new batch releases. Although the 16 Years Old is here to stay, each batch may be wildly different down to the nature of the diversity of stock maturing at Fettercairn. This 1st release was distilled from Chocolate malted barley – more familiar to brewers of stout or porter where it is used heavily for flavour and even in many lighter beers where a little adds colour. This was matured in 1st fill American oak ex-Bourbon casks before being finished in a combination of ex-Sherry and ex-Port casks. Quite a concoction!

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Dark orange/amber gold (12/20), medium, rounded, stationary tears with short, thick legs.
  • Nose: Cloying, tart red berries and fruits, a touch earthy like elderberries, smothered in treacle, that odd Fettercairn tropicality, mango, pineapple and peach skin, oak wood – well polished, orange oil and zest, ginger and lemongrass, sweet but savoury like Cantonese dishes lemon chicken or duck in plum sauce, perhaps I’m imaging allspice powder and galangal, cocoa powder, dark chocolate and coffee, cherry and tobacco leaf and after eight mints.
  • Taste: Smooth and rich but oddly lighter (medium) bodied, fruit syrup and spice predominate, lots of toffee with red berries and raisins, rum & raisin fudge, mocha coffee, salted and chocolate dipped macadamia nuts.
  • Finish: Long, drying, oaky, chocolatey with more wood derived spices, clove and cinnamon.


A great addition to the range and one to follow as each batch promises to be as experimental as this 1st release. Despite chocolate malt and multiple cask use the core Fettercairn spirit qualities are still easily found in this expression.

Score 87/100

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