By this point we all know what we’re going to get from a batch of a’bunadh. Enormous mountains of sherry sweetness…cask strength bottling nearly big enough to melt the glass it is decanted into (60.1% abv)…bold fruitcake pungency and cloying winter spice…hints of a few other dark and seductive nuances. These nuances are what make each batch magical. Some are exceptional. Others merely great. Saying something, isn’t it?
Though the batch release idea implies variation, consistency of quality is a forte of the a’bunadh line. There is variation, to be sure, but such is the spice of life, isn’t it? I don’t shy away from picking up each successive bottling, as I am almost guaranteed to like it.
A’bunadh is Gaelic for ‘origin’, as in this is an attempt to replicate the whisky of days past. Just like others that have done this, we’ll simply never know how close they’ve come to cloning these dearly departed drams, but we can appreciate the thought and historical bent that drives these creations, and simply be content in the proffered bounty.
So back to those subtleties and nuances we spoke of, and what defines this batch. There are some domineering tobacco notes banging drums amidst the sweet cacophony of rum, chocolate and treacle. Dates and figs provide a big bottom end while defined and rigid spices (clove, nutmeg, cinnamon) come in sharp and high. The sherry is the melody that brings this all together, imparting these flavors to the Aberlour spirit. I find this batch slightly more ‘green’ than others I’ve tried. More of the Speyside fruity profile shows through here as well.
Splashed across the taste buds are chocolate, dried fruits, sherry and oak. The finish is long and rich. One would expect nothing less from this expression. Something a little tangy and tart toward the back though.
To be honest, this one is simply not as cohesive on the nose as some of the other batches. This serves to make it easier to dissect for the purpose of reviewing and taking tasting notes, but it makes it a somewhat less engaging and whole experience. This does not a bad whisky make, however.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt