Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Aberlour a'bunadh

Aberlour a'bunadh
Price: $60-$70
Strength: 60.6 %

Aberlour a'bunadh (I pronounce it "ah-boo-NARRRGGHHHHH", whether that is correct or not) is bottled in cask-strength, numbered batches and non chill-filtered.  I think a little water is necessary for anything over 60 %, and this sherry monster takes it well.  The flavor profile actually changes quite dramatically depending on how much water.  A touch of water releases a spicy feast of cinnamon raisin, gingerbread, and candied fruit.  Add more water and the drink gets delightfully creamy and mouth-coating, but the spices become tempered.  Aiming for the perfect balance between spice and cream is the delight (or frustration) of this dram.

There is no age statement, but a'bunadh is reportedly a mix of young and old malts.  The sherry influence is certainly dominant, but a'bunadh still comes out tasting like a whisky, unlike some sherry casked whiskies that end up tasting more like wine than spirit.  There is not much wood influence in this drink, but otherwise it is supremely balanced and a great example of sherry cask aging done right.  95 points (A).  

Other Aberlour reviews:

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  1. I think I recall liking this more than you when you first got it, a year or two ago, but then, I've always been a huge fan of big sherry flavors.

    I might have already asked you this, my short term memory is worse than it used to be, but have you had anything else by Aberlour? I think they have a 10 or a 12.

  2. I've tasted the 12 and 16 year-olds. The 12 is similar to Balvenie DoubleWood where it is aged mostly in Bourbon and then finished in sherry. It is not as good though, but it can be found cheap (I bought a bottle in NH for $32). I'll post a review of that soon.

    I've sampled the 16-year-old and thought it was nice, but not nearly as rich or big as a'bunadh.

    My uncle-in-law also had a distillery-only bottle he brought back from Scotland, and this was an excellent bottle. Softer fruit and more apple than raisin, but great balance and mouth-feel. That would would have gotten an A from me as well.

    1. The Aberlour distillery actually sells an all bourbon matured whisky that sounds really interesting to try. Would be interesting to taste it against Glenlivet Nadurra or Glenmorangie Astar.