Aberfeldy 1999 Single Sherry Cask

"A spicy sherry monster, something we almost doubted that Aberfeldy got. Think of the Aberlour or Glenfarclas for comparison. When will these single cask editions make it to our local shops?"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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Although Aberfeldy is not a well-known distillery, it has been around since 1898 and the only distillery built by the Dewar family, close to the house where founder John Dewar was born. One of the reasons for its unfamiliarity is that most of its spirits have been used from the Dewar’s blends. After switching owners a couple of times, Dewar’s bought Aberfeldy back from Diageo in 1998, and soon introduced the 12-year-old single malt to the market. A few years back, Dewar’s updated its single malt range and introduced a new old-school-looking design of the range, among extending the range to older versions. Aberfeldy is now also home to the Dewar’s World of Whisky, a visiting centre for everything on Dewar’s malt and blended whiskies. Most of the spirit at Aberfeldy is matured in bourbon casks, however, some sherry casks are used, as we will see here.

Nose

A very spicy start with lots of sherry spices, muscovado sugar, cinnamon and ginger. This goes towards some of the good molasses-based rums showing a balance between the wood spices and the sweetness. Water is needed. Chocolate cake, spicy cake, bitter toffee, and citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. Behind the heavy sherry, the distillery’s character seems to shine, providing a sweet and smoothened effect to counteract the overwhelming sherry cask influence. This also prevent a too bitter woody nose that I often find with these sherry monsters.

Taste

Cinnamon, ginger, over-brewed tea, nutmeg, sultanas, in fact all the usual sherry cask influences. Sightly drying and bitter, revealing that the spirit has difficulty to counterbalance the cask influence. Adding water reveals that there is creamy background with some shortbread and cake. The finish throws more spices and bitterness onto my tongue.

Overall

I found the nose pretty excellent, while the palate got unbalanced by the cask influence. However, I think this was clearly the best Aberfeldy from this tasting, agreed by most of the other participants, and so far the best that I have tasted. It is really a shame that Aberfeldy does not release more of these single casks and primarily keeps them for the distillery shop. Well, it does encourage us to visit them.

What others say

Whiskybase: 89.38 (15 votes) * @Thewhiskyphiles: 91/100 * @Thedramble: 87/100
Read for yourself

A sample of this was kindly provided by for the Twitter Tasting

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
75%
Peat/smoke
0.5%
Nose 87%
Taste 85%
Balance 85%
Depth 86.5%
Finish 85%
Score