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I will not go through an whole description of A'bunadh as there is a lot of reviews available. I will compare the batches 46 and 49 not by giving there common aspects but by exposing there differences. Both bottles are full. Batch 46 has been opened for about three months and Batch 49 was opened tonight.
Nose Batch 46: A lot of high notes for A'bunadh. The Oak is white and there is also a clear uncommon hay. The cake spices are very opened and well defined but are coming with an overwhelming alcohol. The chocolate is really in the background with some orange and some lilac. With water, the alcohol is tamed and the notes are getting lower with more chocolate and less hay with the flowery note going toward rosewater but not quite there.
Batch 49:The notes are lower but still closed, probably because of the bottle being freshly opened. The spices are there subdued to a dark smokey chocolate. There is also musk and leather. With water you get a real rosewater with the sherry red fruits but you loose some spiciness. With time the cereals start to show off.
Both batches follow there nose, but batch 49 adds a typical A'bunadh strong Pepper to it. B46 has almost no Pepper in comparaison. The mouth fell 0f B49 is better than B46 which is a little tin compare to the standard. With water the difference is less important. B46 offers also a lot of cereals for an 'nadh. The definition of the cake spices is improving on the B49 but not as well defined as with B46. All the flavors are stronger with B49 but water does not help it like it does for B46. Most important, B49 has a richer malt flavor.
B49 has the big peppery finish I come to associate to 'nadh. In this regard, B46 will be a deception to the fans. There will be a nice surprise with the freshly empty glass of B46, as I get some tea flavors and a strange and littly tart yellow plum. B49 presents a more standard empty glass, easier to like, richer but in a way not as complex as B46.
Conclusion B49 is easier to like. The flavors are stronger and more characteristic of A'bunadh. So the fan will be in known country with it. B46 is another animal. The amateur of grain whisky and rye will not be desoriented with is more opened and higher notes style and if you are not looking for the usual A'bunadh, you will enjoy it for what it is: a very good scotch. For me, B46 is only 2 points behind B49. Although I expect time to be better for B49 than B46.
Scores B46: N:22 T:22 F:21 B:22 (87) B49: N:21 T:23 F:23 B:22 (89)