Whisky Advocate

Whisky Advocate Award: Highland Single Malt of the Year

February 10th, 2012

Aberfeldy 14 year old Single Cask, 58.1%, £115

Today, Aberfeldy is a Highland distillery that actually boasts a higher profile than the single malt it produces, thanks in part to the popular ‘Dewar’s World of Whisky’ visitor center based there. Aberfeldy distillery was built by the burgeoning Perth-based family business of John Dewar & Sons in the late 1890s, and like so many Victorian distilleries, it was constructed beside a railway line to facilitate transport.

By the time of Aberfeldy’s establishment, blended Scotch whisky was taking the world by storm, and the new distillery was intended solely to provide malt whisky for the company’s increasingly popular blends. After passing through other hands, including Diageo’s, it was one of four distilleries acquired with the John Dewar & Sons name by Bacardi in 1999.

Inevitably, the vast bulk of all Aberfeldy single malt produced at the Perthshire distillery remains destined for the blending vats to help Dewar’s maintain its number one blended Scotch whisky position in the U.S. Nonetheless, Bacardi is keen to make more of this neglected gem of a single malt, and sales of the Aberfeldy brand have increased by 400 percent in seven years to some 25,000 cases per year, with the principal offerings being 12 and 21 years of age.

Single cask Aberfeldy bottlings are very few and far between, and this 2011 release is right up there with the best. After initial hogshead maturation, the whisky ultimately underwent a period of finishing in an ex-sherry cask prior to bottling. Here’s hoping 2012 brings more Aberfeldy bottlings of equal excellence. —Gavin Smith

Whisky Advocate’s Lowland – Campbeltown Single Malt of the Year Award will be announced tomorrow.

No Responses to “Whisky Advocate Award: Highland Single Malt of the Year”

  1. ps says:

    Hopefully this will encourage them to upgrade the standard expressions, particularly the 12yo!

  2. Louis says:

    Just yesterday, Binny’s added an Aberlour 12 year old non-chill filtered 48% ABV on the new arrivals page for $60.

    http://www.binnys.com/spirits/Aberlour_12_Year_Old_Non_Chill_Filtered_40077.html

  3. Ricardo says:

    I have yet to see this bottle for sale anywhere, including UK sites. This may be rarer than some of the other winners that people are complaining about. Where was it marketed? When was it bottled?

  4. Gavin says:

    The out-run for this expression was 185 bottles, available via specialist retailers such as Royal Mile Whiskies in Edinburgh/London and from Aberfeldy distillery. I thought this whisky was outstanding, but this award was also about recognising and encouraging the ongoing efforts of a company to develop one of its single malt brands that has been low-profile for too long. If you didn’t get the chance to try this particular Aberfeldy be assured there ill be more new releases in future, as well as some interesting developments relating to other distilleries owned by John Dewar & Sons.

  5. Bobag says:

    185, details are on the bottle if you enlarge it.

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