Aberfeldy 20 Years Old Exceptional Cask Series (2019)
I’ve been to Aberfeldy twice in the last six months, and yet I’ve never reviewed a whisky of theirs before. Time to correct that, with a rather intriguing release from this distillery.
The Exceptional Cask Series is the moniker Aberfeldy uses for their single cask or small batch releases, curated by their master blender and malt master, Stephanie Macleod. The whiskies from this series that I could find online, have mainly been single casks, for La Maison du Whisky for example. This Aberfeldy 20 Years Old however, is a limited edition of 3,600 bottles.
It was distilled on April 27th in 1998, and then filled into bourbon casks 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 18 and 120. The liquid stayed inside those casks until the first month of 2014. That’s when the whisky was transferred in to first-fill sherry casks. Finally, more than 5 years later, the whisky was bottled on March 25th of 2019.
Aberfeldy 20 Years Old Exceptional Cask Series (43%, OB, 2019)
Nose: Supremely balanced and fairly rich, yet fresh. Wonderful notes of honey, butter, cocoa and milk chocolate. Very enticing. Plenty of citrus fruits also. Tangerine, oranges, but also a touch of an earthy dunnage warehouse and burlap. Loses some of its intensity after a little while in the glass.
Taste: The sweet honey continues on the palate, accompanied by notes of cappuccino, and touches of cinnamon and nutmeg. A whiff of almonds too. Again, pretty enticing, and dangerously drinkable.
Finish: Medium in length. Lingering coffee notes and soft spices.
It’s been a long time since I’ve nosed a whisky bottled at 43 percent as expressive as this Aberfeldy. Also, taste wise, this is simply good stuff. Obviously, don’t go tasting this straight after a high strength whisky though.
Now I do wonder what this would taste like at cask strength, or even at 46 percent. I can’t say for sure it would be an improvement, as I’ve tasted a few cask strength Aberfeldy that were in dire need of water. But still…
Available from Het Whisky Huis, who were also kind enough to provide me with a sample. I don’t receive any commission or anything, in case you were wondering. Actually, I’ve no commission links whatsoever on this blog.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.