Review – Aber Falls, Single Malt, Autumn 2021 Release
Aber Falls Distillery
Based in North Wales, in Abergwyngregyn, Gwynedd – Aber Falls is the first distillery in the area for over 100 years. Using Welsh malted barley and water from the nearby Afon Rhaeadr Fawr (Aber Falls river), they are proud to be delivering a truly Welsh whisky. Opened in 2017, they launched an inaugural release of 2,000 bottles in Spring 2021; matured in a mixture of virgin oak, sherry, and orange wine casks. The Autumn 2021 release builds on this using a mixture of virgin oak, sherry, and bourbon casks. These are our thoughts …
As with many newer distilleries, the team at Aber Falls are keen to ensure that sustainability is built in to the core of their production. Working closely with farmers to maximise the use of local resources, minimise waste, and contribute to the local economy.
This young whisky is matured in a combination of bourbon, sherry, and virgin oak casks. Bottled at 40% ABV and retailing for roughly £26. The sherry casks are a mixture of Oloroso and the sweeter Pedro Ximenez; which promise hints of chocolate, coffee, and dark red fruits.
First Impressions and Reflections
A beautiful distinctive bottle. We’re big fans of slightly stout, wide-based shape, and the raised glass decor – understated and effective. Potentially controversially, we’re also fans of the lack of gift-tube. As lovely as these can be, they are often wasteful, and it feels appropriate given the distilleries focus on sustainability.
We also think it is worth commenting on the price and ABV (both surprisingly low!). Many newer distilleries are charing double (if not treble!) for their early young releases, so it’s refreshing to see a new whisky at such an accessible price point. With regards to the ABV it’s feels as though 43% if not 46% has become the new “standard” so it will be interesting to see how this stacks up at 40%.
Nose: tart rhubarb, red currants, malty biscuits, hints of honey, orange oil
Palate: sweet, immediately red fruits, with baking spices, and pepper
Finish: quite oaky towards the end, light, ginger spice
Personally I found this a bit thin. Lovely flavours but that just lacked a bit of depth. I feel a higher ABV would do wonders to help flesh out this expression. It has the makings to be something quite special.
Nose: rhubarb and pear crumble, bramble jam, creamy custard, cinnamon, clove, orange oil
Palate: thick, creamy, jammy, dark fruits, malty biscuits, baking spices
Finish: ginger spice, clove, cinnamon, orange oil, coffee beans
Another new whisky we really like, plenty of fruity notes throughout ranging from very ripe rhubarb to dark fruit jam; all brought together with hints of ginger and baking spices. A great dram for Bonfire night, and it might even make a special Christmas even appearance too. Good value given the sub £30 price, it is certainly in the same category as the Roe & Co blended Irish whiskey.
In the future we would be keen to see a release at the 46% or even cask-strength, to give it a bit more bite. It would also be good to see how this fairs at an older age statement, whether the fruit flavours develop or that oak becomes more prevalent. We’ve seen that they did an orange-wine single-cask previously, so we’d also be keen to try their component parts too (similar to the Raasay Na Sia).
Definitely keen to see where this distillery goes in the future. Let us know in the comments below your favourite Welsh whisky!