Another 1978 Aberfeldy - this time a 17 year old from the ever-reliable Cadenhead’s Authentic Collection. Fairly pokey – this is delivered at 57.9% ABV.
Nose: Opening with pronounced florals (daisies, dandelion and cotton sheets), this skirts the line of seeming almost soapy like washing powder. There’s plenty of zingy citrus alongside gentle touches of baked goods – buns and rolls. In the background a slightly odd aroma akin to wet potters clay. Reduced with water, there’s both more sweetness from honey and more sense of weight with creamy custard. However, there’s also a rather bizarre note of Crayola crayons.
Taste: If there was a global lemon shortage in 1978 I now know why –they’re all inside this bottle. I cannot stress enough how tarty citrus this is. The arrival is a wave of lemon juice so strong that it nullifies the ability of the palate to detect and appreciate both the 57.9% ABV and many other flavours. It’s bitingly sharp and quite quite silly. Once the faculties have gotten over this initial shock, there are other nuances to take on board. Pancake batter (laden with sugar, and of course a ton of lemon juice), vanilla and crumbled limestone (again – odd!). The mid palate, bitterness steadily builds, developing into a potent herbal mixture of dried grass and slight menthol. The addition of water results in a strangely wonderful transformation – the arrival is heavily diminished (a good thing), resulting in tinned tropical and stone fruits. But, come the mid-palate, the tsunami of lemons return with vengeance – sharp, tart, and now overly sweetened. Just plain barmy.
Finish: Medium to long with (wait for it…) lemons and moisture sucking dryness.
To say that this Cadenhead’s Aberfeldy is left-field is to almost do the ludicrousness of the experience an injustice. On the positive side, this is certainly spirit-forward and even though there’s some strange outlying aromas and flavours, I don’t find them overly jarring when taken in wider context of the composition of the whisky. However, the level of lemon influence here is completely berserk – it’s utterly unapproachable without dilution and even, there’s no escape from the citrus onslaught. Almost flawed, but perversely fun at the same time.
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