Dewar’s Aberfeldy Tasting

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of taking part in the whisky wire tweet tasting of three Dewars Aberfeldy malts.

Aberfeldy is the real thing, a most authentic distillery making traditional Highland malt whisky. Build by Dewars in 1896 this is one of Scotland’s great historic distilleries. The Dewars, John and Tommy were real people who built a global blended scotch business through hard work and vision. Aberfeldy needs no tales of illicit still, smugglers or faux tartan and excisemen. The magic and mystery are entirely of their own making, in the spirit coming from their stills, supplied with the water from the Pitilie Burn the gold-rich waters, along with proximity to Perth being the reason for siting the distillery in this area. Having distilled over many years there are old and spectacular whiskies maturing in their stone dunnage warehouses. Their current expressions are a 12-year-old, 16 and 21 plus single cask expressions available from the distillery.

The casks for the main expressions are a mixture of sherry and bourbon.

My own impression is that the vatting often contains older barrels than the age statement suggests.

12 year old 40%ABV

The 12-year-old is a complex lovely dram. On the nose honey, caramel, fragrant buttery fruity with pineapple and pear drops opening to a touch of wood cedar

The taste is for me is like crunchie bars with caramel, vanilla and spices like ginger, cardamom and pepper.

As it opens up with a little water the flavours become more complex with more fruit like pear and pineapple, wood notes and more spices.

The finish is dry but holding the breadth of flavour herbal notes and a slight hint of smoke.

Lots of complexity as it opens more peppery spice balancing the sweetness. A great Highland malt exhibiting notes from the stills and the barrels in harmony.

For a 40%ABV standard offering this is a full and complex dram. I love this. Personally, I would like to see it offered at 43% or 46%

Now I learn something from every tweet tasting. On this occasion, my views on single cask were confirmed and enhanced. I love single cask whisky but whilst the Distillery style was consistent the 2001 cask 21444 and the 1999 cask #5 were substantially different. I was surprised at how different they were. Both are wonderful whiskies offering complexity and depth but quite different and rather lovely tasted together. For me, this demonstrates how skilled a Master Blender must be to produce the final product of any multi-barrel expression.

2001 Cask #21444 55.5%ABV – Distillery exclusive

The 2001 had a wonderful fragrant fruity nose. vanilla, nutmeg, cardamon sherbert floral, honeyed. A long enjoyable nose which evolved over time.

The palate came with instant impact. Spice! Pepper, ginger, caramel, mocha notes almost hinting at coke (drink!) must be caramel and coffee.

This malt just runs and runs the sweetness fades and the cask comes through balance in abundance a lovely finish.

1999 56.5%ABV

Scottish Field Summer Challenge 2017 winner.

It hit me with the familiar smells of Christmas. Mince pies, raisins, sultanas, spices, vanilla, stewed red fruit, with time the nose is getting deeper and deeper three drops of water kicks it on even more.

On the palate deep winter fruit, major dates, raisins and, The mouth is oily and full. The taste fully reflects the nose only more, much more.

I love the depth and variety of flavours. This is a highland classic savoury with that classic ‘late picking’ sweetness of a great sauternes tempered by oak and time smoooooth and balanced. It tastes like a much older whisky.

I always enjoy tweet tastings and find them the most enjoyable and relaxing occasions to sample great whisk in good convivial company.

Many thanks to Steve for organising the event and to Gary Ross and Richard Devlin from Aberfeldy.

Aberfeldy although a big part of whisky history, is an often overlooked gem or should I say nugget?. Much of the joy of Aberfeldy is to visit the distillery where there is always excellent cask expressions available hand picked by the excellent Master Blender Stephanie MacLeod. It is such a comfortable, accessible traditional distillery it is a must visit for any whisky fan travelling the A9. The Heritage centre, distillery, whisky lounge and cafe showcase Dewars history and achievement. Aberfeldy is very much the Home of Dewars. This for me is the epitome of the Highland distillery producing deep flavoursome malts with body and substance, matured in the best quality barrels and traditional dunnage warehousing.

If you cant make it to the distillery to pick up a single cask bottle the 12-year-old offers great value and fills a space near the front of any whisky collection.

Images courtesy of Dewars Aberfeldy Distillery