Review: A Pair of Aberfeldy Travel Retail Exclusives.

Each of these expressions were finished in two types of Madeira casks. Both ex-Malvasia Malmsey and ex-Bual casks were used. The press information states it has spent “up to 12 months in the wine cask” so whether this means some of the spirt has spent a little less time for the finishing period or it’s just the terminology used I don’t know.

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These are both GTR exclusives and the 16 year old and 21 year old will be available at $110 (approx £85) and $195 (approx £150) respectively.

Aberfeldy 16 (OB) 40%abv, press sample, (Travel retail only)

The nose is typical Aberfeldy with big dollops of waxy honey, intermingling with peaches and apricot pastries. Theres a strong apple note that undulates through and changes from red to green apples the longer we linger on the nose. After a time there is a definite presence of banana chips glazed in honey, mixing with brown sugar and a sprinkle of subtle spices.

The palate is a continuation of the honey theme but this time has powdered sugar, some distant malty biscuits, sultanas and some butterscotch. The peaches from the nose are still very clear, but now are joined with a lingering vanilla.

The finish is mildly tannic with tangy spices, ginger biscuits and a soft oakyness.

Feels almost tighter and sweeter than the standard Aberfeldy 16, the cask finish is quite evident in its delivery on the nose but more so on the palate.

At £85 (for a litre bottle) it isn’t terrible value compared to the current cost of the standard 16 (approx £60 at the time of writing) working out roughly at £0.09 per m\l for both expressions.

Aberfeldy 21 (OB) 40%abv, press sample, (Travel retail only)

The nose is already much deeper, darker and dustier than the 16, with an immediate note of dark wood ad furniture polish. The bakery items are still there but now we are talking Churros rather than pastries. Brown sugar, peaches in syrup and perhaps a touch of damp earth round of a pleasant nose.

The palate has quite a chunk of vanilla, along with red berries (notably cherries) and the distinctive Aberfeldy honey all wrapped up in a very buttery delivery. Perhaps a little thin at times, could perhaps do with being bottled at a slightly higher abv. There is a distant but perceptible note that’s rather rum like at times too.

The finish isn’t overly distinct, more like the fading flavours of the palate rather than the introduction of anything new. Slight spices and sprinkles of dark chocolate fade pleasantly.

Again it is a little thin at times but it’s not incredibly detrimental. I’d like to see the flavours driven by a higher abv but thats more of a personal preference.

It is coming in at about £20 more than the core 21 year old so again marginally more expensive especially considering it is a 70cl bottle. If you are a frequent buyer of the 21 then this is definitely worth a look next time you are passing through a departure lounge.

Both pleasant and very drinkable with the flavours imparted by the Madeira finish very balanced and noticeable, with a good amount of distillery character left.

If I had to pick one I’d lean towards the 16 both in terms of value and flavour.

You can find more tasting notes and whisky news in the Amateur Drammers Archives.

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