This New Limited-Edition Scotch Is a Bargain for Its Impressive Age


If you count yourself a Scotch connoisseur, you undoubtedly know Aberfeldy all too well. It’s one of those brands that goes deep rather than wide. It also goes wine, too, as in its ongoing Wine Cask Collection, which stands apart as one of the more innovative series in the single malt sphere. The latest entry keeps that spirit of exploration moving—all the way down to the foothills of the Argentinian Andes.

Aberfeldy 21 Year Old Malbec Cask Finish is a brilliant berry-forward belter that leverages lush casks pulled from the renowned Finca Ambrosia estate. The winery sits at the heart of Mendoza’s Uco Valley, where some serious Malbec is made. And the barrels utilized to mature that premier varietal, it turns out, aren’t too bad at tickling taste out of whisky either. For this release, that whisky is single malt that spent over 20 years in a combination of sherry butts and bourbon barrels, before a final eight month kiss from Malbec-drenched French oak. The resulting liquid seamlessly integrates the Highlands of Scotland with the high hills of South American wine country.

To make it happen, legendary Aberfeldy malt master—and part time oenophile—Stephanie McLeod had to convince her Argentinian friends to fork over some freshly-drained cooperage. Finca Ambrosia doesn’t often surrender such stock. But we’re sure glad that McLeod employed her powers of persuasion here. She worked with winemaker Daniel Pi to select specific barrels that would be best-suited to highlighting the signature styles of both liquids.

“It opens with intriguing notes of sweet, toasted cereal, herbal sage, and hints of rosemary,” says McLeod of the finished product. “It then begins to develop with ripe strawberries, drizzled in Aberfeldy’s signature Highland honey notes and then it’s delicately sharpened with notes of blackcurrant.”

We sipped it neat and discovered the juiciness of blackberry and plum—an expressive layer atop wildflower honey and heather. Even more compelling was the conclusion: a lingering crescendo of lilac, cedar, and cigar box spice in a spirit that clocks in at a quaffable 92-proof. Perhaps equally as palatable is its price point: $280 for a 700ml bottle. It’s by no means cheap, but for a limited-edition single malt upwards of two decades in age, this registers as a bargain in this era.

Aberfeldy 21 Year Old Malbec Cask Finish joins the brand’s lineup of a 15-year-old scotch finished in Napa Valley red wine casks and an 18-year-old that was entered into French red wine barrels. So if you’re hoping to dip your toes into the Aberfeldy stream at a more affordable rate, opportunities abound. Are these Scotches for wine lovers? Or a way for Scotch lovers to better appreciate wine? The answer is yes to both.

Related: We’ve Tasted Hundreds of Scotch Whiskies. These 16 Bottles Are the Best of 2024

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