Before I begin the review I would like to direct any fellow history fans to my review of Aberlour 10, as I wrote a paragraph or two about the distillery history there and as such I don’t want to waste valuable Internet space (I’ve heard it’s running out) with duplicate information. Today I’ll be writing about Aberlour A’bunadh, of which I have had several drinks from the different batches but unfortunately I do not own one myself.
What makes A’bunadh fun is that the different batches can taste quite different and the alcohol content can vary by a couple of percentiles. As such, when you read a review of it, it will often state a specific batch number. I am going to take a different approach and review it based on the common traits I’ve found in the different batches I’ve had.
The main characteristic shared by the drams I’ve had is Oloroso sherry – it’s packed with it! From the first whiff you will pick up raisins, some orange peel, grapes, dried plums and some spice along with a delicious toffee scent that makes you want to keep one glass specifically for sniffing simultaneously to drinking from another.
The palate is bold, powerful, earthy, warm and incredibly decisive – there is no messing around here. It’s as if though it has decided that it will make you taste certain flavors and will be damned if you don’t, and as such it beats them into your palate like a crazy blacksmith. That may sound like a bad thing, but trust me when I say that it’s not. The first sip may scare you slightly, especially if you, like me, expect it to be fairly sweet and decently well-mannered based on the nose (which, while full, is not as intense). The more you drink, though, the better it gets. Chocolate, caramel, sherry, raisins, Christmas cake, and coffee – they’re all there, they’re all bold and none of them will rest until you acknowledge them.
Some prefer it with water, some neat, and both are OK in my books – I reckon it depends on your tastes along with what batch you get your hands on. Personally I’ve had it neat every time I’ve had it, except once, and I believe that was batch 24. This is a ballsy, almost crazy whisky, but it’s delicious once you get to know it. I doubt you could have more fun for $55, which is about how much it costs.
Nose: Full – sherry, raisins, orange peel, grapes, dried plums, spice and delicious toffee.
Taste: Intense and decisive – chocolate, caramel, sherry, raisins, Christmas cake and coffee.