Whisky Reviews

Aberfeldy 21 Year Old


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Oh dearest, dearest pocket. I sincerely hope you can forgive me once more for digging too deep, collecting the very last you had to offer, for no reason other than my own decadence. Forgive, and recover. I’m sure most, or at least many, fellow whisky lovers of less than unlimited means will have been in a similar situation at least once: you know you shouldn’t buy something, but equally you know that there is absolutely no chance of you not buying it.

Well that’s the situation in which I now find myself. I was in the shop the other day to pick up a couple of nice beers (a selection of Brewdog’s finest) and as I approached the till my eye immediately went to the lovely selection of whiskies stashed behind it – the sneaky things always know how to get you, don’t they? Put yummiest stuff by the till and any flesh and bone human is instantly rendered unable to do anything but make an unplanned purchase. That is basically the unnecessarily long story of how I ended up buying a bottle of Aberfeldy 21 year old – at just over $140 for the bottle.

I had been wanting to try it for quite some time and my local pub hasn’t had it in stock, so my basic line of reasoning (ever so refined, as always) was ‘why the heck not’. With my quite considerable expense in mind, expectations were high. The nose didn’t disappoint, presenting as it did a bouquet of flowers, oak and bit of exotic sweetness which I can only describe as somewhere between brazil and coconut. So far so very good. The palate is quite light and has a bit more kick to it, starting off with a pinch of spice, followed by heathery honey, oak, and quite sweet citrus – which I suppose might make it orange, though I’m not sure I actually want to be that precise about it. Oh well, too late now! As for the finish, it’s basically long, dry, and carries a mild spiciness all the way through, and it’s delicious.

The question which will undoubtedly be on everyone’s mind at this point (assuming you all share my exact thought pattern) is: so, was it worth the ninety-odd pound? The answer is yes, and no, and maybe, and oh I don’t know! I don’t have any regrets because it is a delicious whisky – very nicely balanced, very drinkable, all in all very pleasant. But then again, it is a quite expensive whisky, and I can’t say that I wouldn’t be able to get an equally nice bottle for half the price. It’s a tough call, but if you like a light, well balanced, slightly sweet and spicy whisky, and it’s within your price range, then I’d say go for it.

Color: Toffee.

Nose: Floral, oak, exotic sweetness (brazil nut, coconut).

Taste: Light, spicy, heather honey, oak, sweet citrus, dry and spicy finish.

Want to buy this whisky? Available in: USA & World (click), UK & Europe (click)

About Whisky Critic

My name is Martin and I live in Scotland. I love fine things in life, such as gourmet food, travelling around the world and, last but not least, whisky (naturally, I’m partial to a tipple of whiskey or bourbon as well). I have tasted hundreds of whiskies during the recent years and I finally decided to share my experience.

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  1. Tom K.

    June 23, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Clearly, you should get *two* equally nice bottles for half the price. Then this bottle will have only cost you 60 pounds, on average. That’s the beauty of whisky math!

  2. Scott Single Malt

    July 19, 2012 at 6:03 am

    I really like the Aberfeldy 21-yr old. It is hard to come by and I’ve been wanting to add one to my collection for a while.

  3. Edward Willey

    March 13, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    We have an ocean of this stuff in the Texas, USA, market these days. At one point, Spec’s – a large retailer based in Houston – was selling it for $60, while other retailers had it listed at over $150. I bought a bottle at $60.

    My friends and I figured that a realistic retail price for a whisky of this quality ought to be about $75 maximum. Bland, simple, malty, and probably best suited to novices. Keep in mind that this pricing is a bit cheaper than, say, NYC or Los Angeles. But it’s clearly not worth 90 quid! As a point of comparison, I can buy a 19 year old Caperdonich bottled by Duncan Taylor (a CLOSED distillery, mind you) for about $100. For $160 or so, plus tax of course (our tax is on top of the shelf price), I can still buy a bottle of Diageo’s 2010 Special Release of Glen Spey 21. The latter is a stunner of a Speyside with absolutely delicious (concentrated) fruits and spice. 94.5 points in the Whisky Bible and I actually almost agree with the rating. Heck, I could get Old Pulteney 21, which won Whisky of the Year in 2012, for about $110.

    It’s clear to me that Aberfeldy is pulling a fast one on the consumer and relying on the age of the spirit as a proxy for rarity and quality. It’s just not up to par. To those who mostly drink blends, this whisky undoubtedly will seem sophisticated and elegant. For those of us with hundreds of different bottlings of single malt under our belts, this is a snoozer.

    • MikeP

      January 1, 2015 at 1:50 am

      well the alberfeldy 21 did win the best mainland single malt at the World Whisky Awards in 2007. From what I recall, spec’s actually made a BIG error with pricing but honored all purchases. I give props to spec’s for their great customer service and eating cost. Wish I lived in Houston. I would have definitely purchased a good amount of them bottles.

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