Another week – another Tweet Tasting. This week, the drams came courtesy of Dewar’s Aberfeldy in Perthshire. Founded in 1896 by John Dewar & Sons Ltd, the distillery is one I’ve driven by plenty of times and marvelled at its stills, which can be seen from the road when its windows are thrown open. Aberfeldy itself is, unsurprisingly, the largest malt whisky component of Dewar’s Blended Whisky. But Wednesday night’s tasting was for the single malts themselves. So…
Aberfeldy 12 Year Old – 40% ABV
The 12 Year Old is produced using whiskies that have been matured in refill bourbon barrels, rejuvenated casks and ex-sherry butts, which are then blended together by Master Blender, Stephanie MacLeod. The distillery utilises a long fermentation, which helps to create the honey notes the whisky is known for and which are to the fore of the nose. It was also very fruity – orange and pineapple – and slightly floral, with the sweetness of chocolate studded with crystallised ginger. The palate was gentler than expected – lots of cereal, heather, ginger and clove. It was also very woody and the same fruits were still there, although it was less sweet than the nose suggested.
Aberfeldy Single Cask No. 21444 – 55.5% ABV
Distilled in 2001, this whisky has been matured in refill Bourbon barrels and is available exclusively at the distillery, where visitors can fill their own bottle. The nose reminded me of Tarte Tatin – a mix of caramel sweetness and apple. Crunchy honeycomb, vanilla custard, cinnamon and nutmeg. What a cracking nose! After letting it sit for a while, I started to get a hint of Caramac Bar too. I added water straight away (55.5% is a hefty level of alcohol) which opened it up but still allowed it to make a great impact on the palate. Very creamy. A heather, honey sweetness. Coconut. And ALL the lovely spices!
Aberfeldy Single Cask No. 5 – 56.5%
Another bottle which can be filled at the distillery, this one was distilled in 1999 and was matured in Oloroso Sherry butts. It also won the 2017 Scottish Field Summer Whisky Challenge. And I can see why! The alcohol on the nose was quite strong, but there were still some sumptuous flavours coming through – ginger loaf, cranberries, raisins, orange oil and some light tobacco. This needed some water too, but again, the palate held up to it. Lots of red berries, especially cranberries. Strawberries with balsamic vinegar. Ginger, chocolate orange, muscovado sugar and lots of seasonal spices. Just a great dram to taste on a cold November evening.
A strong selection of whiskies from Dewar’s Aberfeldy, which is often overshadowed by its bigger blended cousin. Regular readers will know I’m a stickler for sherry, so the Single Cask No. 5 was my favourite of the night. You can find out more about Dewar’s Aberfeldy, its whiskies and the distillery on its website.