Opened in 1898 by the sons of merchant whisky blender John Dewar, John Jr. and Tommy, the Aberfeldy distillery was built in Perthshire, Scotland near the legendary Pitilie Burn. Famed for its gold deposits, the stream is the water source for the distillery and is somewhat of tourist attraction in its own right appealing to both salmon anglers and prospectors who've panned gold here for nearly a millennium. The "golden dram" has long been the core component of Dewar's line of blended scotch whiskies and has been available as a 12 year old single malt expression since around 1999. Recently re-released as part of parent company John Dewar & Sons "Last Great Malts of Scotland" range, Aberfeldy 12 years old was aged in ex-bourbon barrels and then bottled at 40% ABV.
Nose: Lovely and inviting with aromas of fresh cut apples and heather along with honeyed beeswax, hot toast, and whiffs of marzipan and black licorice all-sorts.
Palate: Rich and full-bodied, the dram holds a charming balance of sweet and spice with waxy honeyed sweetness, apples, orange oil, and a dusting of nutmeg.
Finish: Delightfully long and mellow with a gentle sweetness that shows toasted coconut alongside sponge toffee, cocoa and warming spice.
Overall: Well-balanced, approachable and food-friendly, Aberfeldy 12 year old is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. How does it compare to what we tried a few years back? I would suggest that this version has more fruit and honey than the previous offering that Jeff picked up in travel retail based on the notes available.
While Aberfeldy may appear straight-forward at first tipple, fitting nicely into the traditional "Highland" regional flavour profile, there's a subtle complexity to the golden liquid that keeps me coming back to the glass to discover more nuances. Right now, it's a real bargain in the LCBO for $59.95
and will appeal to nearly all whisky enthusiasts.