Whisky Review: Aberfeldy 18 Year Old Finished In Tuscan Red Wine Casks

, | January 5, 2023

Editor’s Note: This whisk(e)y was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

Aberfeldy 18 Year Old Finished In Tuscan Red Wine Casks is one of John Dewars & Sons’ latest expressions from their Aberfeldy Red Wine Cask Collection which launched in 2019. Along with this Aberfeldy 18 Year Old, this year’s annual release also included the Aberfeldy 15 Year Old that was finished in Cabernet Sauvignon wine casks sourced from Napa Valley.

The Aberfeldy Limited Edition series is the product of Malt Master Stephanie Macleod’s passion for maturation and flavor development inspired by her appreciation of fine wine paired with her highly accomplished sensory analyses of whisky skills. According to the brand, “Stephanie began the exploration of how flavours from red wine casks interact with and elevate Aberfeldy’s aged malt.” 

Aberfeldy Distillery is located in the village of Aberfeldy at the foot of the Scottish Highlands. It was founded in 1896 by the pioneering blender John Dewar, who was born just three miles from this now historic Perthshire countryside site. Aberfeldy Distillery has been making Scotch whisky since 1898 utilizing what they describe as time-honored techniques such as long-fermentation which produces rare honeyed notes. 

Bottled at 86 proof (43% ABV), this expression is aged for 18 years in a combination of re-fill and re-char Bourbon casks before it’s finished in ex-Tuscan Red Wine Barriques sourced from Bolgheri in Italy. In the distillation process, pure water is sourced from nearby Pitilie Burn, which is a small river that runs alongside Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery. The waters of the Burn contain deposits of alluvial gold, which inspired the marketing slogan “The Golden Dram”

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Macleod said in a prepared statement: “The 18-year-old edition is showing exactly the kind of depth and interest I’m aiming for when finishing in Tuscan red wine casks of this quality. On the palate there’s more fruit and almond, and also delightful hints of sliced green pepper and lime which mingles with Aberfeldy’s citrus and honey notes. Beautiful soft oak rounds out this complex and deeply satisfying dram. It’d be ideal with dessert.”

Aberfeldy 18 Year Old Finished In Tuscan Red Wine Casks review

Aberfeldy 18 Year Old Finished In Tuscan Red Wine Casks (image via Aberfeldy)

Tasting Notes: Aberfeldy 18 Year Old Finished In Tuscan Red Wine Casks

Vital Stats: Aged 18 years, 86 proof (43% ABV), 750 ml bottle MSRP $129, product of Scotland. 

Appearance: Burnt amber.

Nose: On the nose there’s a distinct medicinal character rounded out by scents of day old cut grass along with flavors of cinnamon, orange citrus, molasses, and freshwater. 

Palate: The palate offers both spicy and sweet notes of honey, malt, and caramel, with grassy hints of oak and clove as well as burnt orange, red wine poached pear, and sweet dry tobacco.

Whiskey Review: Aberfeldy 18 Year Old Finished In Tuscan Red Wine Casks
4.5

Summary

This whisky offers a texture that is smooth and mildly grainy with a spicy bite that lingers nicely. The medicinal character is more pleasant than off-putting, which speaks volumes about its well-balanced, broad flavor profile. While single malt whiskies may be an acquired taste, I appreciate the long, flavorful finish that offers an intriguing depth of character that’s well worth taking your time to chew on.

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Jennifer Williams

Jennifer Williams is a former Dallas, Texas bartender of 15 years where she developed an appreciation for patrons with a healthy respect for great whiskey. She moved to Portland, Oregon in 2019 where she graduated from Portland State University as an English Literature major with a minor in Writing. While...