When it comes to sherry bombs Aberlour A’bunadh is one of the daddies of them all. The Aberlour 10 offers excellent value for money and the recently reviewed 12 year old is a good step up (could be better at 43% or 46%). The A’bunadh is a cask strength single malt matured exclusively in Spanish oloroso sherry butts for an unspecified number of years. I won’t hazard a guess at how old it is but it is bottled at 59.9%. It is important to note that this is a cask strength single malt and not a single cask single malt. I almost tripped up on this, but in essence this is a mix of single malts from various casks mixed together without any dilution. Single casks single malts are taken from one barrel. Also worth noting that Aberlour have been producing these in batches so there will be variation in flavour profile from batch to batch. Some online commentators believe that batches from many years ago were better, the good old things were better back in the day comment you often see. Anyway I can’t comment because this is the only batch I have tried.
Whisky: Aberlour A’bunadh Batch 62 Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 59.9%
Nose: Cherry, oak, cinnamon spice, masala tea, leather
Taste: Cinnamon, cherry, medicine, toasted almonds
Finish: Cinnamon, chilli, oak, leather
Summary: Approach this with caution. I often advise that giving whisky time to breath and adding water offers great reward, however with the A’bunadh it is a necessity given how hot in alcohol it is. Also, in this case I was not rewarded with any new flavours. Instead, the alcohol heat was tempered and the cinnamon and spice notes slightly more subdued and palatable but it didn’t develop into anything more that what I got on the nose. So from that sense I was a bit disappointed. Maybe the strength was a bit too much for my palate and I just couldn’t pick any other note. The price of A’bunadh had suddenly shot up late 2018 around the time Aberlour announced the Casg Annamh which was rumoured to be a replacement for the A’bunadh but has transpired so far at the time of writing. In summary the A’bunadh is high strength sherry bomb that lacks that little bit of character that you would get from the likes of Glenfarclas, the 105 in particular.
Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,
1 – not to my preference
2 – tastes fine but does not excite me
3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally
4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf
5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf
Image source: www.thewhiskyexchange.com