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Aberfeldy 12 year old review – the old version

Aberfeldy logo

Aberfeldy 12 year old single malt comes from the Highland region of Scotland. Aberfeldy distillery was founded in 1896 by John Dewar & Sons, Ltd. So naturally it is the base malt for Dewar’s Blended Whisky. Aberfeldy also offers 18 and 21 year old single malts. Their visitor centre, “Dewar’s World of Whisky”, was opened in 2000 by the Earl of Elgin. It attracts visitors by educating distillation and history of the Dewar’s brand.

Aberfeldy uses American Oak Ex-Bourbon casks for maturation. I think they use them for all of their core range whiskies. At least this 12 year old dram has been resting in Ex-Bourbon casks.

Aberfeldy 12 year old single malt whisky review - Old version

I tasted Aberfeldy 12YO before its package design facelift, with the squirrel on the label.

Did THE WATERBOY bring me this single malt?

Even though Aberfeldy 12 year old has won prizes (3 Golds at The San Francisco World Spirits competition and 1 Gold at World Whiskies Awards), I did not experience it as a prize winning whisky. For my taste, too flat and delicate in every way. The low alcohol per volume level doesn’t fit for a palate so delicate at all.

This dram felt like someone had added too much water in it. Surely The Waterboy struck my drink or something…I mean, literally it was like a bartender’s practical joke. Like watching a bad Adam Sandler movie – no character, un-edgy whatsoever.

They have a new version of this single malt out. The recipe is same but package design has been revamped. You can read my review of the new version of 12 year old Aberfeldy from here.

Matured in:
Ex-Bourbon casks
Colour: Young Sauternes
ABV: 40%
Nose: Fruits in a very delicate way, like a perfume. Aromas are so soft, I can hardly detect anything. Hints of honey with some floral notes and very, very small amount of smoke. Less than a whisper of it.
Taste: Very sweet and syrupy. Little bit spicy. Citrus fruits and malt are the main factors.
Finish: Nicely crispy oranges with dry spices. Oak and very dry notes are dominating. The finish shows potential.
Balance: Probably the most delicate single malt I’ve tasted so far. That doesn’t mean it’s not in balance, just not good enough for my palate. Finish is the best part but it doesn’t save the whole deal.


Distillery: Aberfeldy Region: Highland
Aberfeldy 12YO package design, the updated version and the old

Here’s Aberfeldy 12YO updated package and bottle on the left, and the old version on the right

You can read my review of the updated version of Aberfeldy 12YO from here.

Johannes Lindblom
Johannes Lindblom
Finnish whisky enthusiast and the author of WhiskyRant! A digital marketing professional by day – a whisky reviewer and informer by night.


  1. Dave Higgin says:

    Great name for your blog – you are certainly having a rant (refer to OED). I personally found that adding a drop of water improves the taste and smell aromas.

    • Johannes Lindblom says:

      Thanks for the comment. I tried Aberfeldy 12yo with drops of water too but unfortunately it still felt flat. My experience was only a sample from a buddy of mine, so it would be nice to revisit this dram. Although I’m pretty sure that Aberfeldy 12yo is just too light for my taste.

  2. […] Even though the package and label are missing its signature Aberfeldy red squirrel, I must admit that the revamp has given some dignity. The new version comes in a handsome black tube decorated with rose-gold colored font. Very stylish. You can read my review of the Aberfeldy 12YO old version. […]

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