This weeks review was intended to test the wintery, wet July – yes, it’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere with a dram that could possibly warm the inners with the potential to cuddle the soul. Part of the “Last Great Malt” series and introduced towards the latter half of 2015 is the Aberfeldy 16 YO, a produce by the distillery now owned by John Dewar’s & Sons.
No surprises that this malt forms part of Dewar’s core blend; but there is much more to this malt than just being core! Founded in 1898, this highland distillery is fueled by water from the Pitilie Burn – one with solid creds, known to contain traces of gold! Their wash is also fermented longer than usual, and though this may mildly increase its alcohol content, it might also introduce more flavour. Upon distillation, the distillery matures their spirit in a combination of first fill, re-fill and re-charred bourbon barrels for a minimum of 16 years and then finished in first fill ex-sherry casks for another 6 months.
ABV : 40%
Eye : Chestnut oloroso sherry | Caramel colouring
Nose : Rich caramel, brown sugar, and honey accompanied with a whiff of char, green apples and grain. Dried fruits, raisins, peaches, milk chocolate with hints of papaya and desicated coconuts. Some woody notes interleaved with an earthiness, ginger peels, cardamom and spice.
Taste : Caramel toffee and vanilla cake along with hot malt chocolate. Some charred wood is coupled with dried fruits, red apples, mandarin zest and green pepper with a bit of spice.
Finish : Sweetness of vanilla and red apples, a tingling woody spice | Medium
Holding well to its credentials, the whisky brings a bouquet of richness both on the nose and the palate. There is certainly more complexity and depth to the nose, with the flavour profile though absorbing on the palate, is a bit short lived. I am however disappointed with its mediocre 40% abv, and would have expected less dilution / higher concentration. This would have given the expression a more pronouned profile on the palate, filling in some of those blanks.
At AUD $139, this alludes great value for money giving excellent bang for every single buck. There’s very little to complain with this dram, opening up more as you let it rest. The 16 is a wholesome package with sweetness, and layers of richness – tropical notes from the bourbon casks coupled with lush depth from the sherried casks.