Fettercairn 28 year old sits in the rather unenviable position of being the 2nd expression in the revitalised series, but at the same time asking a huge jump in price over its 12 year old sibling. There’s something missing here – an 18 or 21 year old – which would allow those enamoured by the 12 year old a reasonable stepping stone into the wider distillery range. As it stands, it’s a massive ask and one which I’m not sure many enthusiasts will be prepared to make cold.
The bottling is again matured solely in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels, but comes with a slightly higher ABV of 42%. It’ll set you back £500 from Master of Malt.
Nose: An aromatic combination of dusty furniture, suede leather and rosewood alongside apricot, peach, clementine and vintage orange liqueur. Running throughout, a funkiness that I’d commonly associate with the OB Fettercairn’s I’ve tasted to date – an odd mixture of chopped herbs and potpourri with creamy coconut. Intriguing, but a little strange and disjointed. The addition of water adds aromas of biscuit crumb, stem ginger and refined brown sugars as well as highlighting the near three decades in cask with increased wood panelling and a touch of polish.
Taste: Immediately woody, but nicely fragrant – orange peels, nectarines, steeped fruit tea and Fruit Salad chews. The mid palate delivers milk chocolate, dusty leatherette and a building spiciness – pepper and ginger. Oak runs throughout, but whilst somewhat drying, it’s not overly tannic (quite a result) and is joined by a big vein of rancio mustiness. Reduction adds barley water, tobacco leaves, glace cherries and coffee grounds.
Finish: Medium to long with ginger nut biscuits, drying fading pepper and old dusty oak.
Fettercairn 28 year old seems to love water – it’s therefore a shame its delivered at 43% ABV, which gives the imbiber little room to manoeuvre. Whilst there’s a good interplay between fruit and wood – and balance along with it – the level of odd funk/rancio (rotting flowers) really does detract away from both the maturity and the more defined aromatic aromas/flavours. It’s also crazy expensive for a 28 year old from a little known distillery.