A’bunadh is my ‘slipper’ malt. When I’m cold…this is what I curl up with. When I have a cold…this is what soothes. When I’ve had a shitty day and am just hoping for comfort and familiarity…this is where I turn. When I’m simply craving a damn good ‘suits any occasion’ kind of whisky…this is nearly always the one I turn to. It’s as comfortable and welcome as the best pair of soft worn-in slippers. Honestly.
I recall an incident that happened in the dead of winter a few years back while I was on my way home from work. My bus had been slipping and sliding all over the roads in an absolutely horrendous blizzard. It finally gave up the ghost on a hill about eight or ten blocks from my house, slipping back in the slush and muck to rest horizonally across both lanes, effectively blocking the entire street. It was dinner time, almost dead-of-night dark and the snow was flying in thick sheets; creating a virtual wall of snow. The driver opened the doors and offered to let us walk if we preferred, so as not to wait for a tow (nice fella, that one). Indeterminate wait for the possibility of rescue vs the frigid December hoolie. What would you choose?
Well…that 15 minute walk in -25C weather…in snow up to my knees…in dress shoes and good clothes…was one of the most miserable experiences of my entire life. Interestingly enough though, what lingers more than the memory of numb extremities, frozen eyelashes and aching ears, is the thought of finally trudging up my drive, shaking off the snow on the front steps and heading straight for the front of the fire place with a Glencairn glass half full of a’bunadh. Canadian winters. Beautiful misery.
By now a’bunadh should be no mystery to most of you. If it is, however, please browse some of the previous reviews here on the site. Suffice it to say, this is a big and bruising cask strength Oloroso sherry bomb. Small-batch released. Almost always incredible. And…a personal favorite. After a less than stellar Batch 46, it’s nice to see Aberlour back on top with this Batch 47.
Nose: Moist cigar, or maybe a walk-in humidor. Cherry liqueur. Mincemeat tarts. Some shortbread behind all of the spices and savoury notes. Cinnamon bun dough. A very pleasant toasted (almost burnt) marshmallow note. The wood is a little louder than expected. Brings a little more complexity, and ‘seriousness’ than I expect in the rowdy a’bunadh (if that makes sense). No shoddy casks buried in here.
Palate: Beautiful sweet, caramel fruity delivery. Deep, dark dried fruits. Orange zest. Dark caramel. Roman nougat. Maraschino. Toasted pie crust. Baked apples with cinnamon and nutmeg. Brown sugar. Fruit cake. Figs. Charred woods. Apple skins. Leather. And FRUIT leather.
Thoughts: Great balance here. Nice sweet ride all the way through. There is plenty of this batch still available on the shelves locally (Calgary) for those who are interested. I’ll be nabbing another, as mine is now down to the bottom half a bottle.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt