Monday, October 11, 2021

Review / Aber Falls 2021 Bottling

This whisky is the new core product from the north Welsh distillery of Aber Falls. The Aber Falls 2021 Bottling is just the distillery's second ever single malt expression and follows the Inaugural Release from earlier this year. The three year old single malt features whiskies matured in ex-bourbon, ex-Oloroso and ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry, plus virgin oak casks. These have then been married together by Dr. Kirstie McCallum, the Master Blender for Aber Falls. It is bottled at 40% ABV and will be available in the UK via Tesco supermarkets (Wales only), online retailer Master of Malt and from the distillery website A bottle will cost £26.

Aber Falls distillery was founded in 2017. It is located in the town of Abergwyngregyn close to the Aber Falls waterfall from which it takes its name. Production of single malt began in 2018 and is made using 100% Welsh barley and water that has flowed over the waterfall. Prior to that they distilled gin, which has already started to pick up awards globally. Then in 2019 they also started the production of small batches of Welsh rye whisky. Aber Falls is owned by Halewood Artisanal Spirits.

Our tasting notes

The colour is golden yellow and the nose is fresh, sweet and fruity. Aromas of crisp green apple and heather honey rise from the glass first and these mingle with further aromas of malty cereal biscuits and sultana. Underneath there are suggestions of candied orange, vanilla essence, poached pears in syrup and milk chocolate.

On the palate this whisky is juicy and fruity to begin with. Juicy sultanas and a hint of white grape combines with those crisp green apples and poached pears from the nose. Then comes a wave of sweetness in the form of heather honey, golden syrup and crumbly brown sugar infused with vanilla pod. These notes are accentuated by a hint of milk chocolate and cocoa powder.

There is also a distinct underlying note of malted cereals that evolves and becomes more influential with time. Other elements also come through to add depth and complexity - think of orange oil, raisins, gingerbread and a hint of treacle. A late hot warmth, which is most reminiscent of white pepper, and a good pinch of baking spices (especially cinnamon and clove) bring things to a close. 

The finish is a little on the short side and becomes quite hot and spicy. This is especially true once the fruity and sweet characteristics have begun to fade. Overall, a good and very tasty effort.

What's the verdict?

There is a lot going on here for a young whisky from a new distillery. Aber Falls have put out an impressive effort to follow their equally impressive Inaugural Release. There is a delightful freshness to the nose and the palate has that lovely fruity and sweet quality. The only slight let down is the short and hot finish.

Even more impressive though is the price - £26 a bottle for just the second release from a distillery is unheard of and seriously bucks the trend. It is also a core product, so if you enjoy it then you will be able to buy another bottle. This is another rarity amongst new distilleries. Well done to the team at Aber Falls for all of the above. 

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