Aberlour is one of my favorite distilleries in the Speyside region of Scotland because of their reasonably priced single malts and the sherried character of their finished spirit, and I thought it high time to review one of their fine whiskies. The A’Bunadh (meaning “of the origin” in Gaelic) is an expression that Aberlour launched in 2000 to much critical acclaim. A’Bunadh is produced in small batches, so it does vary from batch to batch, but there are all matured in ex-Oloroso sherry casks and bottled at cask strength without chill-filtration or coloring. A’Bunadh never carries an age statement, which allows Aberlour to blend whiskies from all ages to get the deep myriad of sherried flavors found in A’Bunadh. I have had several batches of this whisky (and they are all very good), but this specific review is of Batch 45, weighing in at a hefty 120.4 proof (60.2% abv).
The A’Bunadh is a dark, ruby hue (almost the color of Bargain Bourbon’s background) coming exclusively from the years in the European oak. On the nose, the A’Bunadh is dark and spicy, with notes of dates, figs, wet oak, apples, and a bit of smoke. The palate is really where this whisky takes off, though. The palate is full-bodied with a lot of dense, deep, dark sweetness. I taste dark chocolate, marzipan, pecans, mocha, sherry, plantains, and some citrus peels. The finish is long, dry, and warming, with flavors of old wood, espresso, and Fig Newtons. With water, this whisky gets a little sweeter, but balances the sweetness with spices like cinnamon and ginger. It is just as delicious at cask strength as it is with a few drops of water.
Overall, I am a huge fan of Aberlour A’Bundadh, especially this batch. It takes water beautifully, but is perfectly delicious at cask strength. If you are seeking out a reasonably priced cask strength single malt, Aberlour A’Bunadh is a great place to start. It is a complex whisky, well-balanced between sweet and spicy, but it is also a straightforward dram with the Oloroso sherry influence coming through in full force. Connoisseurs and beginners alike will find something to love with a bottle of A’Bunadh. My grade: A. Price: $70-80/750ml. In the price range, for the quality of this whisky, Aberlour A’Bunadh continues to be one of the best deals around.