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Aberfeldy 21 Year Old

What difference a year makes?

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@DramBusterReview by @DramBuster

30th Jan 2011


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
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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.

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DramBuster commented

Dammit. Can't edit?

11 years ago 0

jwise commented

No. A serious flaw, indeed. I think the comparison is mostly between the single cask and a vatting by the distillery, not the extra year of maturation. The 101 club sounds like a fantastic idea. I have yet to try an Aberfeldy. I will need to remedy that as time and funds permit.

11 years ago 0

Connosr commented

Thanks for the review, we're adding functionality for editing entries which will be ready soon.

In the mean time, drop us an email if you need to make an update www.connosr.com/contact

11 years ago 0

DramBuster commented

Och, it's no problem. Just a couple of wee typos that are hardly worth fixing. Time would be better spent checking out the Old Pulteney that I picked up today.

11 years ago 0

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