Aberfeldy is similar to the situation of Glenturret and The Famous Grouse: Aberfeldy Distillery is the home of the Dewar’s Brand. Dewar’s is a blended whisky and all of my American readers have probably now heard of this one! It is very popular and at most bars across the US. You can tell they reinvested this American success into their visitor facilities. This is officially the first visitor center to have a lovely movie theatre for the start of the tour! The movie was pretty good too. I guess we can also credit this to their wealthy owners- Bacardi. The tour was mostly about the history and blending process of the Dewar’s brand, but we cannot forget that Aberfeldy has their own single malts as well! I unfortunately did not try any of the single malts, but will have tasting notes for the Dewar’s White Label. This is the most popular bottling. I didn’t mix it either- tasted it just like any other single malt.
They say that some of the Aberfeldy production goes into the blend, but I was not told, or have found out, exactly what the combination of whisky’s are. For Dewar’s itself, 95% is bottled for export. The competition is very high for blends in Scotland and they have found better success outside of their own country. Check out this “memorial” I will call it, to the original Dewar’s blend. There were quite a few whiskies in this! Each bottle represents the percentage of each distilleries contribution to the recipe. This ratio of course cannot be the same since many of these distilleries
Below is what I tasted for the current day blend:
Dewar’s White Label
Holly’s Tasting Note..
Nose: Creamy, caramel, malt, older fruits, slight tangerine.
Palate: Malted Barley, toast, jam on toast, a fruit zest finish. Some charred/burnt wood?
They have definitely modernized since the day of Mr. Dewar himself, who grew up down the road in the town of Aberfeldy. First of all, I have to hand it to them. Their mill room was pristine and they weren’t in quiet season! There are ways of controlling dust now and most distilleries aren’t terrible, but I would eat off of this floor. They currently have an all iron cast mash tun. There are eight washbacks that are still all Siberian Birch wood, but there are also three stainless steel vessels outside. Those have been around for about a decade. They do about 23 fermentations a week, putting the yeast in at about 17 degrees Celsius. It is a full seven days a week schedule and store most of their casks just south of Glasgow. Bacardi is currently aging over 5 million casks of whisky, so you can imagine it would be difficult to have that on site. Not only in capacity, but for insurance reasons. They had a very cool mock made up of what the whole distillery site looks like. It reminded me of that Saved by the Bell episode where Zack doesn’t want oil riggers near his school and he squirts oil all over the mini model of his town.
The people here were really lovely. The tour guide of course asked why I was taking notes and I explained to him what I was doing in Scotland. He directed me to two other employees who also blog and “study” whisky. They were great in answering any of my additional questions.
Next up is Royal Lochnagar..