Show rating data charts
Distribution of ratings for this:
Can a difference of 1 year really make so much difference to a whisky that it would justify an extra £60 at the checkout? That’s what we wondered so the inaugural meeting of the 101 Club – set up by a group of Edinburgh-based whisky enthusiasts to check out the whiskies in Ian Buxton’s book 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die – was a side-by-side blind tasting of Aberfeldy’s own 21 year old and Gordon and McPhail’s bottling of a 20 year old single cask Aberfeldy.
OK, we know that there’s a world of difference between a distillery expression and a single cask bottling but our view was that the distillery bottle would need to very good indeed to be worth three times the price of the single cask.
Aberfeldy’s bottle is described by Royal Mile Whiskies as ‘an old smoothie for after-dinner sipping’. There’s no denying that the 21 year old is smooth, mellow and sweet. It has a light flowery nose with a flavour that is delicately oaky with a hint of spice. While the flavour is very pleasant (making it, what one of the assembled company described as a good session malt) it was undistinguished. The Gordon and MacPhail bottle, on the other hand, was full of flavour. Nothing restrained and elegant about this guy – it’s more oily in the glass and has a less subtle nose, the oak more prominent. Undiluted it is harsh but with warm it becomes lighter, fruitier and more complex. While the 21 year slips down the throat like a soothing medicine, the single cask dances in the mouth.
So with only one year separating them, they were as @mistersmith1 put it “…different in every way from the colour to the smell and the taste.” Although the Aberfeldy 21 year old was very popular, the consensus came down firmly in favour of the independent bottling, with only @Redmaaan favouring the distillery. Expensive taste that man.