Tag Archives: bacardi

Aberfeldy 16 Review

Distiller: Aberfeldy. ABV: 40% Age: 16 years. Region: Highlands. Price: $70-90.

It’s been a pleasure tasting my way through the John Dewar & Sons’ Last Great Malts lineup over the past year. Craigellachie and Aultmore have been my favorite distilleries of the bunch, with Aberfeldy a close third.

What appealed to me in the Aberfeldy 12 was a good mix of approachability and heft for its age and ABV: 40%, as with the distillery’s other core releases (even, alas, the 21-year-old).

One particularity of Aberfeldy malt is its long fermentation time: 70 hours, as opposed to a more typical 55 or so. This creates more esters in the distillate, which should lead to a fruitier malt.

The 16-year-old Aberfeldy is matured in a combination of bourbon and sherry casks, then finished in Oloroso sherry casks for a “more pronounced sherry accent.”

What’s it like in the glass? I was struck by the bourbon-y notes on the nose–not bourbon-matured single malt, but actual bourbon: Four Roses-esque caramel apple. Sweet leather. Vanilla pipe tobacco. The sherried notes emerge gradually–dried fruits, plum–and are strong on the palate. Raisin bun. Stewed prunes. Cinnamon. The medium-short finish has black tea with raspberry and a touch of oak spice.

I’ll make my usual appeal for another 3-6% ABV, but overall, the Aberfledy 16 is a fine package and a welcome daily drinker for me.

Cheers, friends! -BO

Buy Aberfeldy Whisky online at Mash + Grape

The distiller kindly shared a sample for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.

Aberfeldy 12 Review

Distiller: Aberfeldy. ABV: 40% Age: 12 years. Region: Highlands. Price: $50.

With this spectacular shot from our Instagram friend @scotch_doc, our look at John Dewar & Sons’ Last Great Malts lineup continues.

This dram has a close family resemblance to another Last Great Malts release we recently reviewed, the Royal Brackla 12. (Craigellachie, Aultmore, and The Deveron complete the lineup.) Like the Brackla, this Aberfeldy is an immediately appealing, easy-drinking dram with a classic Speyside profile–though the Aberfeldy’s actually a Highland–plus a little something extra. An unexpected heft and meatiness for its mere 12 years and 40% ABV.

Golden baked fruits and orange on the nose, plus…chicken barbecue? Pound cake with whipped cream, topped with raspberries and blackberries. Palate has more baked apple, with a tasty dose of clove and cinnamon. Orange tea bridges to the finish, which has a nice balance of sweetness, spice, and tannins. A touch of fresh leather at the end.

An irreproachable, satisfying first dram of the night, any night–like the Royal Brackla 12. The only objection to these two might be what the ever-eloquent Mark of Malt-Review.com said (referring to the Brackla): “It’s all very Duke and Duchess of Cambridge…no risk-taking as of yet. No shivers down the spine.”

True, but I finish each dram with a smile. Cheers, friends! -BO

Buy Aberfeldy Whisky online at Mash + Grape

The distiller kindly shared a sample for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.

Royal Brackla 12 Review

Distiller: Royal Brackla. ABV: 40%. Age: 12 years. Region: Speyside. Price: $60.

Modesty is not a common virtue in marketing, but when you call your line “The Last Great Malts of Scotland,” you’re setting the bar high.

That’s the name John Dewar & Sons (and/or owner Bacardi) gave to the single malts they released last year from five distilleries that were previously stocking blends like Dewar’s almost exclusively: Craigellachie, The Deveron, Aultmore, Aberfeldy, and this, the Royal Brackla.

Royal Brackla was founded in 1812 as plain old Brackla, then got Royal when it was granted a Royal Warrant from King William IV in 1835–the first distillery so honored.

TheRoyal Brackla 12 would make a marvelous introduction to Speyside single malts for someone new to the region. The nose is appealing if a little down-the-middle, with apple, peach, and honey. The palate livens things up with orange marmalade and orange pekoe tea. The body is surprisingly rich and full, with a luxurious mouthfeel that encourages you to linger over each sip. The spice bridges to the finish: clove, nutmeg, and bitter orange.

As enjoyable as theRoyal Brackla 12 is, I’m puzzled as to why it and the wholeRoyal Brackla line (there’s a 16- and 21-year-old too) are stuck at 40% ABV, particularly given the price. There’s loads of potential here, but it’s crying out for a 46% bottling to show what it’s capable of, like the Craigellachie 13 happily has, and does.

Incidentally, our friends at Bexsonn.com, who graciously shared this gorgeous photo with us, tried it at 46% at the distillery, and said it was a cracker.

Maybe next year? -BO

A company representative graciously shared a sample of Royal Brackla 12 with us for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.

Thanks to Bexsonn.com for the use of their photo.