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I did a head to head comparison a few nights ago between A'Bunadh and Glenfarclas 105.
Aberlour A'Bunadh is an incredibly popular, loud and bold cask strength offering from Speyside. It's NAS, and for what it's worth, they claim that each batch is a vatting of "5 to 25 year old" whiskies. I'm skeptical that there's much in the way of older-than-15 year old whisky in here. A bit of controversy exists surrounding the colouring issue. German websites stocking A'Bunadh sometimes indicate "mit farbstoff" which means it's coloured with e150a. However, sources directly from Aberlour state that A'Bunadh is NOT coloured with e150a. Perhaps the Germans can't be bothered to verify their information. Maybe they're just playing it safe. For what it's worth, I tend to believe the folks at Aberlour. The reviewed batch is number 53.
- Nose (undiluted): a big hit of oranges right away, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, dry Sherry with a bit of a savoury/umami note in the background
- Palate (undiluted): rich, very thick and full bodied, cherries, dark chocolate, orange zest
- Finish: medium-long, sweet cherries with some dark chocolate and oak spices lingering with a pleasant drying tannic note at the very end
With water there’s more oak on the nose, maybe even some cranberries, and the oranges take a back seat. It feels a bit spicier and more drying on the palate and finish, more Sherry-like. There’s also some raw almonds on the palate and finish when it’s diluted. Maybe a bit of a balsamic vinegar note at the tail end. I expected this A’Bunadh to be much sweeter, but it’s quite balanced. I really like it a lot. I feel as though this whisky might be something you serve along side some sharp cheese or a charcuterie board. Very pleasant, but not life-changing.