Aberfeldy 18 Years Old Cote Rotie

Aberfeldy 18 Years Old French Red Wine Casks Cote Rotie

What they say

John Dewar & Sons announces its latest limited expression from The Golden Dram – ABERFELDY 18 Years Old, finished in French Red Wine Casks from the Côte Rôtie appellation.

Aberfeldy’s French Red Wine Cask Collection launched in 2019 with the first release of Aberfeldy 15 Year Old, finished in Pomerol casks from Bordeaux, the second release in 2020 was an 18 Year Old expression finished in Pauillac casks, also from Bordeaux. For the third bottling in the series, Malt Master, Stephanie Macleod has chosen a robust yet elegant style of wine for this year’s offering.

The famous Côte Rôtie is a prestigious red wine appellation at the northern tip of France’s Rhône Valley. The area is a mere 40 miles long and is responsible for a tiny 4–5% of all the wines from the region. Côte Rôtie, translated as “Roasted Slope”, is home to some of the steepest vineyards in all of France.

Wines are predominantly made from the Syrah grape, which thrives in the well-draining granite soils, offering depth of flavour and complex aromatics with dark red berry characteristics and sensuous, silky textures that caress the palate. Up to 20 percent of Viognier can be used, adding finesse, elegance and floral characteristics to the wine.

Aberfeldy’s Malt Master, Stephanie Macleod comments: “This style of wine has got these wonderful fruity notes, but also floral notes and so it’s just a match made in heaven for Aberfeldy. These wine casks don’t come around very often, so we when we were offered them we snapped them up immediately.” Adding: “The day they came on to our site we opened them up and I gave them a nose – it was just amazing, I felt there and then this was going to work.”

To Aberfeldy’s aged malt these casks have bestowed expressive and seductive qualities, a refined smoothness and fruits with luscious, red berry characteristics. Stephanie comments: “This sumptuous dram is bursting with intense, rich fruity red berry notes of raspberry, lingonberry and red currents smothered in honey. It’s deeply evocative of an Eton Mess as the sugariness and the sharpness of the berries come through. A zing of candied citrus peel brings balance before mellowing to a smooth vanilla and butterscotch sweetness.”

Aberfeldy 18 Years Old, French Red Wine Cask finish is bottled at 43% ABV and has a RRP of: £95 / €99 / $120 USD. The expression will be available in limited runs, initially from the distillery’s online shop, www.shop.dewars.com from 1st September, and then will roll out in the following main markets: USA, Taiwan, China, Germany and France with smaller volumes to be made available in Austria, Sweden Singapore and Malaysia.


What I say

A Limited Edition 18 year old expression from Aberfeldy and also an addition to their French Red Wine Cask collection. This example has experienced a finishing period in ex-Cote Rotie casks.

  • ABV 43%
  • Age 18 Years Old
  • Bottler Dewars
  • Bottling Official
  • Cask Cote Rotie French Red Wine Cask
  • Category Highland single malt whisky
  • Cost £95
  • Origin Aberfeldy Distillery
  • Outturn undisclosed
  • Region Highland
  • Released 2021
  • Vintage undeclared

My tasting notes

  • Appearance Rose gold (10/20), slow, medium-large tears and legs.
  • Nose Fruitier than the 12 year old, still sweet and honeyed, melon, red grape and something mustier, perhaps that’s the French oak, cocoa powder and wood tannins becomes leathery and spiced later.
  • Taste Medium-bodied, jammy forest fruits, raspberries, brambles, redcurrant jelly, honey, sugary maple syrup, fudge, milk chocolate covered raisins, creamy vanilla and some defined spice; cinnamon and allspice at least.
  • Finish Medium-long, jammy red fruits, plum, some pineapple, sticky sweet fruits in syrup or honey.
  • Overall On the nose the French oak predominates an already sweet and fruity whisky. On the palate red berries add to that honey and vanilla and results in a real dessert-like whisky. More jammy than the 12 year old the official note of Eton Mess fits the bill here. Delightful.

Score 86/100

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