Aberfeldy 12 year old is the entry-point into the distillery’s core range of age-statement whiskies. Widely available and particularly popular over in the US, the bottling is a vatting of a range of different cask types which are married together and then bottled at 40% ABV.
Nose: Honey and fruit. Honey is immediate and pronounced. It is accompanied by vanilla, pineapple, orange peels, butterscotch and barley water. There’s a light herbalness in the background – some mint and maybe some pine. Cask influence is kept on the down low initially, but ginger is still perceivable.
Taste: Light, delicate and a little lacking in body, but entirely pleasant in terms of arrival. Spice and bitterness now come out to play with cinnamon, ginger and bitter toffee all playing a part. There’s a combination of both fresh and dried fruits and berries here and the honey and vanilla remain firmly in place and translating well from the nose. There’s a good balance between sweetness and bitterness and some interesting notes of burnt caramel and toasted almonds.
Finish: Short to medium in length and bringing orange zest and ginger spice.
Aberfeldy 12 year old is a solid whisky that I would happily recommend as a starter malt to someone commencing their whisky journey. It offers a good balance of sweetness and cask spice, whilst still sticking true to the promise of the Golden Dram with honeyed notes and flavours firmly in the driving seat. Of course, as an entry-point whisky it’s none too surprising to see this at 40% - I’d be very interested in a 12 year old cask strength version were that ever created. Nevertheless, this is well-priced at £35.50 from Master of Malt.