If you are tired of trying whiskies with too many flaws or a lack of complexity, the Aberfeldy 21 Year is the perfect whisky to taste. Many whisky connoisseurs give it high or even perfect scores. It is generally considered one of the better whiskies in the world, and it is not comparatively hard on the pocketbook either. While the Aberfeldy core single malts are high quality, this one has the maturity to go the distance.
Aberfeldy distillery is a Highland distillery that is well-respected in the Scotch whisky community. The 21 Year is considered one of the better products of this brand and is one of the core expressions. It was released in 2005 to much acclaim and won the 2007 World Whiskies Awards prize for Best Mainland Single Malt. It has a heathery flavor that is typical of its region, but offers a diverse and well-rounded range of elements for both the palate and the nose. It is relatively rich for the region, probably due to those long 21 years in the cask.
Aberfeldy specializes in the making of traditional Highland whiskies and this is a good example. While the 21 year is finished in a sherry cask, it is by no means overwhelmed by sherry flavors. They are present but comprise just a small part of the rich variety of flavors and smells that define the Aberfeldy 21 Year.
Nose: 21/25. The nose may be the single weak spot for this whisky, but it is not that weak. While it is a little restrained, there are discernable smells of honey and ripe fruit, along with a malty overtone. It is fresh and interesting enough to make you long for a taste. This Aberfeldy has an enjoyable nose, but this aspect is not as strong as the palate and other elements.
Palate: 23/25. The palate is smooth and rich. You’ll notice first the tastes of heather and honey, with a subtle vanilla element. From there, orange, lemon and citrus seem to take over. There is just a hint of malty smoke. While it is somewhat dry, it is also sweet and medium-bodied. The dryness and gentle, refined smoke will not dry your mouth unpleasantly or interfere with the quality of the finish.
Finish: 24/25. The Aberfeldy 21 Year has a long and pleasant finish, lingering on the palate for some time. It undulates and gradually fades in an interesting and unique way, with honey flavors and more ripe fruit.
Character: 24/25. If we had to describe this whisky in one word, it would be smooth. However, one word does not do it justice. This is a rich and full whisky that will please even the pickiest connoisseur. It more than deserves the awards and recognition. The Aberfeldy 21 is highly rated, but by no means over-rated, with the magical combination of smooth, sweet and dry. It is meant for drinking neat, but opens well with water and can even hold up to the coldness of ice.
Overall Rating for Aberfeldy 21 Year Old Whisky: 92/100.