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Aberlour A'bunadh

Something Wicked This Way Comes

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@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

9th Oct 2020


Aberlour A'bunadh
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

A'Bunadh needs no introduction. I've reviewed Batch 53 and Batch 58, and I'm sure I'll review more batches. I've liked pretty much every Aberlour offering I've ever tasted so, spoiler alert, it's unlikely that this one will be bad. Or will it ? Suspenseful music Bam bam baaaaaaam !

Neat from a Glencairn glass

  • Nose: raisins, red fruit, a bit of ethanol nip, oak, toffee
  • Palate: hot, quite tannic, lots of oak (a little too much for my liking), some raisins, toffee, and a slightly off-kilter note that feels a bit out of place. I want to say that there's a sulphured cask or two in the mix here. It's not prominent, but something feels out of whack.
  • Finish: long, warming, raisins, oak, orange zest
  • Thoughts: this isn't bad whisky by any means, but I can't say this is my favourite batch of A'Bunadh.
  • Rating (neat): 86/100

With water added

  • Nose: more red fruits, sultanas, toffee, vanilla, a touch of orange zest
  • Palate: water calms the tannins down a bit, more sultanas, maraschino cherries (the real Luxardo type, not the neon bombs you find at Walmart), cinnamon, black pepper, toffee, perhaps some smoked paprika
  • Finish: still long, with toffee, dates, black pepper, and maybe, just maybe a bit of sulphur (spent match). Not enough to ruin the experience for me like some of the true "sulphur bombs" I've had (cough Glen Garioch cough) but there's something off here.
  • Thoughts: A'Bunadh is always a fairly safe bet for me. Even with the "faint whisper" of sulphur, and it is faint, this one remains pretty enjoyable.
  • Rating (with water): 87/100

This A'Bunadh has been open for over a year. My friend had literally one dram from it in June 2019 when he bought it and he didn't like it. So perhaps the little bit of air exposure it's had has made the sulphur more prominent. But like I said, this isn't a stink-bomb, but there's definitely a little something "off" here.

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RianC commented

I've only ever had one bottle of this and it sounds a bit like this one - oaky and 'hot' certainly. I would have bought another batch, simply on the grounds of peer pressure, but then they jacked up the prices so ...

I think, of the CS sherry bombs I've tried, farclas 105 and Glendronach CS were more enjoyable.

3 years ago 2Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@RianC I think A’Bunadh is an excellent case study for anyone who “doesn’t believe” in batch variation. This one has been my least favourite A’Bunadh so far, but the last bottle I had was Batch 58 (I think) and that one was excellent. I’m also a big fan of Glenfarclas 105. As for Glendronach Cask Strength; I have two samples from two different batches. That could be an interesting comparison.

3 years ago 2Who liked this?

Victor commented

@OdysseusUnbound thanks for your review.

Sulphur in A'bunadh is a scary thought to me.

The only people who "don't believe" in batch variation are those who have very little experience.

3 years ago 3Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@Victor The sulphur is faint, but it’s there. I’m guessing that it’s detectable because the bottle has been open for over a year. Even he who shall not be named found some sulphur in a few batches of A’Bunadh, and for all his flaws, the unnameable one had a pretty good sulphur radar.

3 years ago 3Who liked this?

Nozinan commented

@Victor at h 36 was, in my opinion, an outlier in terms of sulfur. Most of the batches are clean.

@OdysseusUnbound, aside from sulfury 36 and slightly young 38, most of the batches I've tried have been quite enjoyable.

3 years ago 2Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@Nozinan Even with the faint sulphur, I’m enjoying this one. It was just about full when it was given to me in August and it’s below the halfway point now. I’m guessing that if I had tasted this “fresh” the sulphur may not have been detectable at all.

3 years ago 0

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