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  • Writer's pictureHarold

Aberfeldy Sisters

The heart of Dewar's...Aberfeldy is one of those brands the average whisky nerd tends to ignore, for the most Glenlivet. Yes, their core stuff is pretty solid and obnoxiously affordable...but they're strategically geared towards a less refined, chill-filtered/lower abv welcoming...wider spending palate (if you know what I mean). They're also pretty scarcely represented on the independent bottling side...with very few cask releases, outside of their extensive ex-bourbon maturation. All of that has started to change, however with bottlings like these next two.

Market exclusive single casks, distillery hand fills, limited edition small batch releases with fancy wine cask finishes...are all a part of the Bacardi single malt rebranding that's been going on over the past decade or so; allowing their malts like Craigellachie, Aultmore and Royal Brackla to flex their "spirit's" wings under (the award winning Malt Master) Stephanie Macleod's leadership.

Aberfeldy 1999/19 Year |Exceptional Cask Series| Sherry Butt #20659 - 56.6% *US Exclusive*
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase


1999/19 Year |Exceptional Cask Series| Sherry Butt 20659 - 56.6%

*US Exclusive*

Most of what the Aberfeldy profile comes down to (creamy honey/vanilla), stems from their American cask/ex-bourbon maturation, making this fully matured sherry cask truly "exceptional," indeed. This late 2019 release came to the states as quite the oddity, for a few reasons, but mostly because no one knew Aberfeldy was in the Coke bottling business.

Appearance: Old oak, deep dark Cola brown.

First Whiff: Warm, rich, Black Forest gateau.

Nose: Straightforward sherry maturation, with a rich, thick and welcoming nose...Glendronach-esque. Supple...dark, black cherries and prune juice. Condensed milk chocolate with an underlying whisper of nutmeg spice and camphor smoke.

Palate: More resinous, sandpaper-ish than the nose admitted, but not totally off-putting. Wood forward, creamy Cadbury milk chocolate and Toosie Rolls. Leathery dried figs, warming cinnamon, camphor and concord grapes down the hatch.

Finish: Gritty at first, but settles down with long, warming spices...cloves, nutmeg, and sweet cinnamon.

Summary: Clean, creamy, and velvety sherry maturation...feels like an oloroso but who really knows? Blindly, I'd be hard-pressed NOT to call this a Glendronach as it has all the similar, well-integrated sherry notes you come to expect from their level of quality. Lacks a little bit of the "unique-ness" to take it a bit higher but still, certifiably fantastic!


Aberfeldy 1999/19 Year |Hand Fill| Sherry Cask #20658 - 60.6%  *Distillery Exclusive*
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase


1999/19 Year |Hand Fill|

Sherry Cask 20658 - 60.6%

*Distillery Exclusive*

Unlike its sister cask, this one never got to leave the nest and travel to a far out land, like the US market. This distillery only, hand filled exclusive was part of a sample swap I did with a friend, about 5 years ago.

One minor note I wanted to point out, was the abv difference. While slight variance is common amongst sister casks, aging in the same spot in the warehouse tends to lead to similar losses of angels share, which makes this 4 point difference a bit odd. You'll notice though, if you look at their labels, while the hand fill is obviously labeled as "bottled at natural cask strength," the single cask leaves out any mention of such. Leaving me to believe it may have actually been watered down a tad, which is a term known as "bottler's strength" in some circles...and should quite honestly, start becoming a more common term and even part of labeling, if you ask me.

Appearance: Burnt umber, old sherry oak.

First Whiff: Pine tar and Raisinets.

Nose: Musty, milk chocolate covered raisins...BIG cola syrup and musty old dunnage vibes. More prunes and Werther's Original as well.

Palate: Rich, soft tannins, with a warm balance of creamy chocolate, caramel and gentle wood spice. Cinnamon dusted creme brûlée with layers of woodiness that starts with resinous, cocoa dusted pine wood and settles on prune juice, aniseed, and bitter Dark chocolate towards the back.

Finish: Slightly firm and a heady heat which leaves a creamy, mouthcoating finish with a dense, dark chocolate and caramel nougat aftertaste.

Summary: Slightly more ethanol driven than its sister, but never unnerving. Throw a few drops of water in there, and we've got a couple of true sister casks here, in my book...which interestingly enough, is quite rare.



Aberfeldy Sisters


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