Aberfeldy's 16 year old expression (duty-free exclusive) was the next whisky I had at the Bacardi tasting I attended. This distillery hails from the Highland region and draws its water from Pitilie Burn, known for having traces of gold in it. This connection with gold is reflected in their black and gold packaging as well as the colour of their whiskies as a whole. So yes colour has been added to this expression, its also bottled at 40% abv and finished in Madeira casks.
Nose: Sweet, fruity and crisp. The notes I picked up were honey, apple, pear, caramel and vanilla. Pleasant but nothing extraordinary or compĺex.
Palate: Light and drying. Ginger and pineapple were the flavours detected right away. Other flavour notes included cinnamon, caramel, vanilla, wood, malt and cardamom. Like with the nose, I wasn't blown away. The one redeeming thing was that a light smoke was present.
Finish: Short and very drying. The pineapple, smoke and malt carried through from the palate. Sandalwood and orange were the only new notes here.
Verdict: Don't buy this scotch. Priced at NZD 200, Aberfeldy 16 is overpriced for an underwelming scotch. What I got from this expression could have been gotten from a whisky half the price and much more. Also, the Madeira finish added nothing IMO to the end product. None of the richness, fruitiness, nuttiness or added spice that Madeira can bring was evident at all.
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