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Aberlour A'bunadh

Average score from 97 reviews and 342 ratings 90

Aberlour A'bunadh

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  • Brand: Aberlour
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling

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@markjedi1
Aberlour A'bunadh

Would there be Aberlour a'bunadh collectors? Undoubtedly. Expensive hobby, I suppose, for Aberlour releases these frequently. They already have 58 batches. I am trying the one but last up to now, again at a sturdy ABV.

The nose holds the middle between that of batches 54 and 55: honeysweet but surprisingly soft. Again that wonderful mix of plum marmalade and grilled pineapple, upholstered with loads of butterscotch. More so than I have encountered in a’bunadh before. And a midly floral touch, as well.

On the palate, it leaves no doubt that this is a powerhouse. Very spicy (and somewhat herbal) upon arrival, but once your saliva glands get to work, a dark fruitiness emerges. Ah, the classic notes of rum raisins, fresh figs, plums and that typical drop of balsamic. Very, very good!

The finish is very long – as was to be expected – with a spiciness that slowly fades, but gives the fruit enough change to linger until the death.

It is nice to find all batches being similar, yet different enough to keep you entertained. And if whisky is that good, one can only smile. A’bunadh remains one of Aberlour’s most prized expressions. Grand whisky. Around 60 to 70 EUR.

@markjedi1

Hot on the heels of Batch 54, this Batch 55 (doh!) was released in 2016. Mind if it is a bit more? Not at all. This one is bottled at a whopping 60,9% ABV.

The nose is surprisingly soft on plum marmalade, grilled pineapple, red shoelace candy (remember this?) and overipe strawberries. Lovely notes of toffee apples and dark chocolate. However, if you leave it to breath for more than a few minutes, a touch of rubber appears.

On the palate it is (obviously) all about sherry notes: plums, dades, dark chocolate, raisins, figs and again strawberries. It is still surprisingly quaffable without water. I had expected a bomb of alcohol, but this one does not burn. It reminds me somewhat of very old sherry (doh! again), but on steroids. Dark and sweet as can be expected from a'bunadh.

The finish is very long and spicy with a salty death. It leaves the mouth parched.

This a'bunadh is again wonderful, especially on the nose.

@markjedi1

Batch 54 of this Aberlour a'bunadh (which means 'from the source’) was released in 2015. It is bottled at a whopping cask strength of 60,7%.

The nose is honeysweet and reminds me more of a GlenDronach than an a’bunadh at first. I get loads of toffee, white chocolate, cranberries and rose water, drenched in orange juice. But there are hardly any of the typical dark sherry hints such as plums, dades or raisins. Nevertheless, this is a very inviting and lovely nose, do not get me wrong. But surprisingly different from what I expect from an a’bunadh.

On the palate it is – obviously – a big boy. The high ABV makes me gasp for breath. Again cranberries and oranges, upholstered with nutmeg, pepper and some cocoa. Good, but not overly complex.

The finish is medium long and offers some peach.

The influence of the sherry cask was clearly a lot less than on earlier batches, but it remains one helluva dram. The price may vary though… from 50 to 70 EUR.

I heard some good things about this one and thankfully @Mancub was able to grab one for me before they were gone. I.m about 6 years away from opening it though...

@markjedi1

Of the 57 batches currently on the market, I have had the good fortune of trying 7, including this batch 19. But that was years ago. As I was able to put my hands on Batch 54 today, I would like to put them H2H, starting with this one from 2007. Did you know, by the way, that the first Aberlour a’bunadh was released way back in 1997?

Wonderfully sherried nose on plums, dades, pears on syrup and caramel, but with a special touch of smoke that I do not detect in all a’bunadh. This one also sports a drop of balsamic and a hint of chocolate on its rich and round nose. Moreover it has got a green edge. Herbal, I think it’s called. On the nose, there is little evidence of the high cask strength.

The moment it caresses your tongue, it is soft and mildly spicy, but once it reaches every corner of your mouth, you realize the strength. And yet it is quaffable without water. I get kirsch, coffee and balsamic first, then raisins and plums and even a hint of coconut. All is wrapped in some woodsmoke. There is a lot going on here. Very complex whisky.

The finish is very long and sweet, but remains spicy until the death.

I had tried this before and must say, it is even better then I remembered. Sublime. In my opinion the best a’bunadh I have tried so far.

I have loved each of the 3 batches I have tried. All in the 40s and 50s range though. I wasn't even close to legal drinking age when the first was released. I'll have to seek some of these older expressions out if they are truly even better than the ones I've had the pleasure of enjoying.

I have "only" tried 11 batches, and the only one I really could not get into was the 36 - I thought it was sulfur tainted or something...

My absolute favourite was probably the 44, with 47 and 33 not far behind.

I'd list the others but I'm not one to gloat...

@talexander

I was perusing my liquor cabinet and realized I have way too many heels sitting around, and of whiskies I haven't even reviewed yet. Apparently, I'm buying bottles, enjoying them over time (this one has been open for at least a year, and it's the very last dram left) and then desperately hanging onto that final drop....and realizing I haven't written it up yet. Pathetic....but it's a good problem to have. So I'm going to try to get through them over the next few reviews (which I have to be more on top of).

This is A'Bunadh Batch No. 56. For those not in the know, this is Aberlour's periodic release of a cask-strength, non-coloured, non-chill-filtered expression, matured exclusively in Oloroso sherry casks. Each batch is different and is of course bottled at different ABVs (this one being particularly high at 61.2%)

The colour is a dark and slightly cloudy copper (I suspect it's a bit cloudy as my house is a bit chilly!) On the nose I am immediately reminded of a rum-soaked, raisin-filled Christmas cake, with tobacco leaves, thawed frozen raspberries and bruised mint. As you would expect, massive Oloroso. Smoked paprika. Over-steeped chai tea. A hint of poached pears - yes, there are some subtle notes here. A drop of water brings out furniture polish and wood smoke. About what you would expect from A'Bunadh.

On the palate there are more raspberries, with big baking spices (think Angostura bitters), baked apples, old leather and cayenne pepper. Obviously huge sherry notes. Surprisingly thin mouthfeel, but the oak tannins pull nicely. Water smooths things out a little.

The finish is medium length with bitter dark chocolate and red liquorice. I haven't had this expression in a while, so it's hard for me to say whether or not this is one of the best ones I've had; but it's delicious, though not as creamy or as rich as I would prefer. Despite the high strength, it actually doesn't need water to be easily drinkable. Tasting it next to Batch 39 (59.8% ABV), though, it doesn't really compare. The 39 is richer, more luxurious (and seems to have more alcohol, even though it really doesn't) and has more of those leather and oak notes that send it over the top (I scored it a 94). Still, you can rarely go wrong with this expression.

Sounds like a good A'bunadh. Hopefully I'll stumble over this sometime :) Unlike @Nozinan I can't get them all

A'Bunadh is one of my all time favourite expressions. I've tried 11 actual batches plus a dram from a bottle of batch 28 that was clearly not A'Bunadh (but that is another story, already told). So far my favourites have been 33, 44 and 47.

Since I turned 44 I've been opening a new batch to match my age, and not tasting ahead. I've stopped trying to "buy ahead" for each year because I don't drink it as much as I used to - I used to go through a bottle a year and now it's less as I drink more other stuff. So I don't have a 56 and I haven't tried the 39.

The next one I'll open is the 49. I have enough 46 (below average) and 47 (above average) to last me the next 14 months.

I keep an "A'Bunadh library" of all the bottles I've opened (except the 33, but I have another bottle). One day I will have a literally horizontal tasting.

That said, I enjoy reading about anyone who enjoys this consistently good malt.

Great review!

@Georgy

I've been looking forward to trying this one for a long time and it's delivered big time!

NOSE: very big and sweet with lovely sherry and even some white port notes. Wonderful cinnamon, all spice and 50% cacao chocolate. With a little water: rum, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, over-ripe fruit basket. Rose petals, black tea and sour cherries.

TASTE: wonderful, incredibly rich, full-bodied chocolate toffee, sour cherries again. Sweet and sour. Water brings out more black tea tannins, dried fruit, and hints of chocolate again. I wouldn't add too much water to it, though. In my opinion, the complexity and charm of this whisky diminishes if you over-dilute it with water.

FINISH: warming, slightly oaky, overripe melon, long sherry finish. There's one popular dessert in Russia which is basically chocolate covered prunes. This finish is laden with this stuff.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: a lovely sweet dram I've fallen in love with. It's not too complex, but it's very hearty and satisfying.

@BlueNote, I have had bad first experiences with at least 5 or 6 very well-liked whiskies. What I have found out the hard way is that there are usually good reasons why a whisky is very popular, and I just happened to get the short end of the stick in those particular situations, whether they were whole bottles, minis, or samples. Most brands have a lot more batch variability than distillers or whisky fans would ever care to admit. In almost every case I have had better experiences from other batches of the same whisky. Maybe find a friend with other batches of A'bunadh to sample them without commitment. I am very sulphur sensitive and your Batch # 21 sulphur experience seems unrepresentative of my experiences with A'bunadh, though I have not tasted from Batch # 21. Usually A'bunadh seems pretty clean to me. @Georgy's report of a sulphur note in the Batch # 55 is a warning sign to me. Usually if a newly-opened bottle of whisky shows a little sulphur, that same bottle will show a lot of sulphur after it has been open for a few months. This is why we specifiy the BATCHES of the whiskies we are reviewing, when that information is available.

@Georgy, we need the specific batch bottling code in order to know which whisky it is which you are reviewing. No two batches of Uigeadail are the same, and there are multiple batches from the year 2016. A general "thumbs-up" vote via a good review score on an unspecified batch means very little to the multitude of review readers who are contemplating purchase of a particular bottle of a particular batch. For practical purposes your nice review is next to worthless to me without the Bottling date information.

@Georgy, yes, by all means post the batch number. The batches do vary, and A'bunadh purchasers want to know exactly what it is that you are reviewing. Good job, Georgy, and thanks for your review.

Since this appears to be your first A'bunadh review, the A'bunadh hounds will likely be watching to see how your later additional reviews of other batches of A'bunadh compare to one another, and to their experiences of others and themselves with the particular batches being reviewed. Finding value in reviews is largely a task of learning to review and understand the taste of the reviewers.

@Victor

I thank @mscottydunc for the reviewed sample

Nose: acrid sharp sherry with almost exclusively medium and high pitches; this one starts on the dry and austere side but acquires a good sweet balance with a few minutes in the glass. This is a good A'bunadh nose, and even has a touch of candied cherry to it. It needs some air time for best effect, though. Water brings out high-pitched sweetness together with some lower toned fruit flavours. Score: 22.5/25

Taste: far more thick and lush in the mouth than in the nose--I love it! Great sweet and dry balance; mouth-puckeringly tart despite great lush sweet fruitiness. Wonderful wine fruitiness with good clean sherry casks. Water added accentuates a sharp-edged tartness. I much prefer this without water. Score: 24/25

Finish: long; continues intense sharp sourness accompanying excellent balancing sweetness. With water added the finish drifts more toward the sour. Not as good with water. Score: 23.5/25

Balance: good in the nose; excellent thereafter. Score: 24/25

Total Sequential Score: 94 points

Strength: strong flavours in the nose; very strong flavours in the mouth. Score: 24/25

Quality: very good to excellent flavours throughout. Score: 23.5/25

Variety: plenty of shades of flavour within the sherry wine residue. Score: 22.5/25

Harmony; very good to excellent harmony throughout the tasting phases. Score: 23.5/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 93.5 points

Comment: this is just the way I like my sherried malts-- thick, lush, clean, intense, and undiluted. This Aberlour A'bunadh Batch # 54 reminds me a lot of Amrut Intermediate Sherry, Batch # 5 in its cleanliness, its lushness, and its intensity. That is extremely high praise. A'bunadh Batch # 54 is a top tier batch and I highly recommend it

So I opened my 54 and I'd say it's fine but nothing special. I think this shows that sherry bombs just don't do much for me.

Thanks, Victor, for holding up 54 as a prime exemplar of good modern sherry bombery. Now I feel pretty sure that the explanation for my lukewarm opinion on sherried malts is my own particular taste, rather than the quality of what I'd been trying.

I'll keep trying them here and there, but it'll probably be a while before I again spend my Laphroaig 10 CS money on an A'Bunadh!

Great review, Victor. The A'bunadh (batch 50) was definitely a big hit here at work among my colleagues. Although I must say I tend to favor the Aberlour 16 year old double cask over the A'bunadh. With the latter, you definitely need to time your inhalations so as to not get kicked in the lungs.

@Victor

I give my thanks to @mscottydunc for the reviewed sample

Nose: big intense sharp-edged sherry with many high pitches, many medium pitches, and a few bass notes. There is lemon citrus mixed in with the dark fruits, with tart blackberry prominent among the dark fruits. This is a very good A'bunadh nose, but I have liked some much better than this one. With water, the flavours are bundled, homogenised, and very nice. Score: 22/25 points

Taste: even without water added, this batch is very homogenous in the mouth, as though cut from whole cloth. The tart quality is still there but is reduced from the level of the nose. This is a nice translation of flavours from the nose, and I like the palate slightly better than the nose. With water the flavours are bundled together. Score: 23/25

Finish: more of the same from the palate, strong and long, ending sour. With water, the bundled flavours are very nice, but fade out more quickly. Score: 22/25

Balance: good to very good throughout. Score: 21.5/25

Total Sequential Score: 88.5 points

Strength: very strong flavours throughout. Score: 23.5/25

Quality: good to very good quality of the wine flavours, which are what you taste. Score: 21.5/25

Variety: adequate variety among the wine flavours. Score: 21.5/25

Harmony: good harmony, but the nose and finish are too sour. Score: 20.5/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 87 points

Comment: this is another very nice A'bunadh, but it is too sour for true greatness

@Nozinan, I always think of you whenever I note the batch number of any Aberlour A'bunadh and remember that when you see the batch number that you are automatically calculating in your head how many years it will be before you allow yourself to taste any from that particular batch. Yes, I am quite eager to see whether one, two, or more months of air time will have positive influence on Batch # 53. That observation will wait for a little while, though, because this review is from a sample, and I haven't yet opened the bottle of Batch # 53 which we own.

I won't be getting to that one for a few Years yet. It would be interesting what a month or two of air might add.

@Megawatt

Nose: beeswax, marmalade, grated nutmeg. A tightly-knit aroma of sweetness and spice.

Taste: wow! And intense blast of flavour greets the tongue. The sherry, malt, and oak have fused into one solid, consistent taste. Incredibly rich, oily, yet not overwhelming. Huge spices and a deep, waxy sweetness coat the mouth. Water brings out some of the typical Speyside fruit. Lovely stuff.

Finish: quite long, and unlike the older batch I tried this is free of funky rubber flavours. Lingering fruit and spice.

Balance: in the world of sherried Speyside malts, a'bunadh stands on its own. This batch exhibits an intense clarity that most sherry-matured whiskies lack.

Could have been batch 41. Not sure if it was the rubber note or sulphur that several members noted in this batch. Fortunately (or unfortunate) for me, I would not detect either. I actually enjoyed by batch 41 bottle. Like to think I got a better bottle than most, but more likely my palatte not as refined as most.

What is the batch that had the rubber note?

@Victor

My deep thanks to @Robert99 for the reviewed sample

Nose: a great A'bunadh nose. Deep, sweet, rich, thick sherry flavours. Great. Score: 24/25

Taste: fabulous translation of flavours from the nose. Thick, rich, creamy body. Excellently balanced. Score: 23.5/25

Finish: just stays the same, long and strong. Score: 23.5/25

Balance: lovely, if you are happy to taste only sherry in your malt whisky. Score: 23/25

Total Sequential Score: 94 points

Strength: whole-hog strong. Score: 24.5/25

Quality: excellent in every respect, if you like sherry, and can like the pungency and intensity of whiskies under 10 years old. Score: 24/25

Variety: there is really only sherry to taste, but the sherry has within it a good bit of dimension. Score: 23/25

Harmony: the flavours work together very well. Score: 23/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 94.5 points

Comment: this is an especially intense batch of A'bunadh, which is the way I like them best. This one rates up with my other favourite batches of A'bunadh, e.g. # 26 and # 32. This is my 400th Connosr review, and Aberlour A'bunadh Batch # 49 seems an appropriate choice for that review both because it is an excellent whisky, and also because the many batches of A'bunadh well symbolise the need and desire to do many whisky reviews. I am sorry that I don't own a bottle of Batch # 49 myself. It is a great one

Thank you very much, gentlemen. @Nozinan, @paddockjudge, @Frost, you have been stalwart whisky mates and nice friends. I am very hopeful that our club Connosr will prosper and grow when its renovation is fully implemented.

As for my next 400 reviews, I expect that the pacing of them will be much more gradual than has been the pacing of my first 400 reviews. The reasons? 1) I have reviewed all of my hundreds of open bottles, 2)I have only about 25 or 30 un-reviewed unopened bottles, which I am reluctant to open until I finish off a lot of the already opened bottles, 3) I've already reviewed a large percentage of the bottles from my sister's large collection, 4)I am buying few new bottles now, because of price, our storage capacity, and our large open bottle inventory. Most of my recent reviews have been from samples from others. The pace of my acquisition of new samples from others is fairly slow now. C'est la vie.

But it is still an excellent thing to have the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the whiskies which I do have in my "cabinet".

Cheers, to all my many whisky buddies!

@Victor, Congratulations on your 400th review at Connosr.

I had noticed a recent increase in your frequency of review posting. This, your 400th review of a popular expression, and an excellent review at that, satisfies my curiosity.

400 is a milestone of significance, a great many whiskies shared with our on-line community and a foreshadowing of rendezvous to come along highway 400 later this spring. With the rate at which we have shared scores of samples and bottles, many more of us will reach the lofty 400 whisky plateau before too long.

I wonder where we might get a bottle of this gem?

@Victor

The reviewed bottle is newly opened. Aberlour A'bunadh is bottled at Cask Strengh, is 100% sherry cask matured, and has no age statement. Most estimates are that A'bunadh is aged approximately 7 years

Nose: exquisite bouquet of dark fruits, plum, black raspberry, and currant. The pitches are mostly medium with a few high pitches. Sherry wine flavours are all you smell. Very beautiful. Score: 24/25 points

Taste: the body is thin on the palate. There is a nice translation of the nose flavours. The flavours are extraordinarily beautiful, but, compared to other batches of A'bunadh, are within a somewhat limited range. The sweet/sour balance is excellent. Score: 23/25 points

Finish: long and very flavourful; all of the flavours last long and strong. Score: 23/25 points

Balance: very good balance in all phases. Water added brought out a little caramel and did not add to the experience. Score: 22.5/25 points

Total Sequential Score: 92.5 points

Strength: strong flavours throughout. Score: 23.5/25 points

Quality: excellent quality of all of the flavours. Score: 24.5/25 points

Variety: very good complexity of the flavours offered. Score: 22/25 points

Harmony: very good harmony of the flavours. Score: 22/25 points

Total Non-Sequential Score: 92 points

Comment: this is a great A'bunadh, all right. All that I would ask more is for a thicker texture and for more deep bass-pitched fruit flavours

Gentlemen, thank you all for your comments. I do love several of the batches of A'bunadh quite a lot, while others are not nearly as appealing to me. While I am very much a fan of the big bold flavours, and am not repulsed by many of the flavours of the younger whiskies, Aberlour A'bunadh is typically for me a niche player: there is a particular mood or frame of mind which comes up once in a while for which it is perfectly suited. The rest of the time it lies fallow on my shelf. I think of almost everything in the whisky world this way: there is a key which works for every given changing mood. I like the enormous variety available to us.

To match the whisky to the mood requires knowing the whiskies very well...and knowing our own moods very well.

In the cask strength heavy sherry arena I regularly stock Macallan Cask Strength, Amrut Intermediate Sherry, and Aberlour A'bunadh. Hopefully relatively soon Kavalan Solist Sherry and Glendronach Cask Strength will join them. And a nice sulphur-free Mortlach would be welcome.

In the non-cask strength heavy sherry arena I stock Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX, Glenfarclas 15, and Macallan 12 Sherry Oak. Would I like a few more of this style? Sure. But I am not buying any Glendronach without tasting the batch first. I have not liked the quality of the sherry on the samples of Glendronach 15 Revival I have had.

@Nozinan, I just saw today that the Imperial Proof is finally arriving: reddit.com/r/Scotch/…

I would never compare it to the A'bunadh, though; it's not a sherry bomb. I have the 100proof and find it dry and herbal (besides smoky).

Anyway, since I'm here, an interesting thing (to me) is that seem to enjoy the A'bunadh 45 when it's my first sip of the day, and the sip even tinier than usual, and the whisky is cold. But it doesn't hold up at all after the palate's been dried a little bit and the liquid is warmed (and then water brings out the worst in it).

@mscottydunc

Recently it was pointed out to me by another member (names to be left out) that without completing any reviews, I was a nobody. Well, here's to me becoming a somebody.

A'bunadh is one of my favourite scotches. I have only tried 3 batches (36, 47, and 49) but have loved each. This bottle of batch 47 has been open for roughly a year, with about 25% of the bottle remaining.

Nose: Loads of sherry flavours. Sweet cherries, almost a maraschino cherry like smell but not overly sweet. There is a bit of orange in the nose as well, and some baking spices at the back. The spice is not overpowering, but I do sense some cinnamon and some nutmeg. There is also a candied nut smell, maybe pecans or cashews.

Adding water mutes a little of the sweet cherry note, and brings out more of the candied nut flavours. I also get more of the orange flavours and the chocolate notes are more milk chocolate than dark bitter.

Palate: An explosion of sherry! The sweet cherries from the nose are again at the forefront, and the spice makes more of an appearance on the palate. There is definitely lots of cinnamon and I am getting some burnt brown sugar as well, but it is not unpleasant at all. There is some dark chocolate, and a hint of the oranges from the nose at the back of my tongue. This is very rich and coats the entire mouth quite nicely.

Water on the palate again brings the orange to the forefront, but integrates the flavours of the cherries a little better than neat. I enjoy this with and without water, but find a few drops really opens up the flavours and takes it to another level.

Finish: The finish is dry and slightly bitter, but lingers for a good amount of time. I can sense a bit of the wood influence, and the cinnamon spiceness is present as well. I get more dark bitter chocolate at the end.

With water the finish is less oaky and not as bitter. The orange taste really lingers, and I am getting some burnt sugars like you would find on top of creme brule.

This is a fantastic whisky. I would recommend picking up a bottle for anyone who has not tried it, especially if you like sherry monsters!

This is definitely one klaeky whisky!

Sadly this batch is long gone, with even the KGBO on batch 43. So no one will be able to take you up on your suggestion. I look forward to opening my bottle next year when I hit 47.

And never mind about the conundrum we all face about whether or not we are a nobody or a somebody. As long as you HAVE somebody (person or animal) in your heart you can never be a nobody.

Yeah... I have never really been able to hop on the A'bunadh bandwagon. It's interesting stuff, no doubt, but I tend to prefer more subtle, older Scotches. It's just too young and loud for me, I guess.

Batch #45 was the only one I tasted that I'd rate above 85 points.

@marino

klæk

By the way - if you want to link to an image in a comment here is the code, try not to link to huge images which will slow the page down :)

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Hey Jean-Luc Maybe you should order some of those t-shirts, and all Connosr members can have one.....something like a club t-shirt. Boy this reminds me of the Hash red dress run... (if any of you are hashers you should know the story)

@Rantavahti

Ralfy stated that Aberlour is better when it's younger. After a taste of this, the 10 and 12 yo, I'm starting to believe that. The order in scoring is the same in my book.

Batch 47 of the A'Bunadh series is a total Kick-Ass whisky. Like the movie, it combines light and rough tones. Strong character with smooth and sweet spots.

Nose: Sweet licorice in the start, fades away quickly. Rubbery with lot of sherry and oak notes. Dark and fruity, but with sweet cherry aromas.

Taste: Powerful sherry and crispy plums. Sweet oranges and some cherry notes. Combination of dark, red, sweet and crispy fruits.

Finish: Bit dry, oak dominating. Bitter aftertaste of roasted coffee. Crispy as well, like chewing some baking soda.

Balance: Even though the sherry notes are huge, I like this dram a lot. In perfect balance, not only concentrating on the sweetness as sherry matured whiskies sometimes do.

Kick-Ass is just the way a batch of Aberlour A'bunadh should be. Good to hear that batch # 47 makes the grade.

Thanks for your review, @Rantavahti!

@Nozinan, you know, the only way you'll ever catch up with the batches of A'bunadh is if Aberlour stops releasing new ones. You are already getting pretty far behind, and they do release more than one batch each year. In a few years the ones you'll be speaking about from your own cabinet will be from 5 years prior.

I don't mind if I'm behind everyone else. Everyone else will salivate when they hear I'm trying an old batch.

This election will elect the 42nd parliament. I haven't yet opened my batch 42. One of my oponents is a scotch fan (actually born in Scotland) and I'm considering gifting him one of my bottles if he wins. Hopefully I'll win 2 elections from now and I can take a batch 44 with me to Ottawa.

@Uisgebetha

Batch 25

The medicinal bottle looks too small to contain 700ml, especially as it comes in such a large box. The colour however is far more reassuring, a dark enriched copper, burnt sienna perhaps.

Aromas of sherry, toffee, dark rum, a clove or two, not exactly complex but a good nosefull of strong complimentary smells. On sipping there is massive delivery of sweet toffee sherry flavours and a surprising lack of burn for the 60% abv. Other flavours develop once you’ve got over the initial wave of sherry including some bitter cherries, dates, more of that dark rum and cloves. I do not habitually dilute this malt but a few drops of water brings out some medicinal herby almost menthol like notes on the aroma and in the flavour which are add interest. Some mild smoke comes through on the finish with some minor hints of coffee (mocha) and dark chocolate but this is still all about the sherry.

This is the essential sherry cask malt, and brilliant value for money. They must use some sort of blending alchemy to achieve the smoothness at 60% while including enough young whisky to keep the price reasonable. However they do it, I hope they continue to for many years to come.

Wow...25, a piece of history...the 51 is out now.

This is consistently a great product with very few off batches.

I have a couple of even earlier batches unopenned, and a batch 49. might do a comparison tasting and see if here has been much drift over the years.

@Robert99

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.

Palate

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.

Finish

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)

Gret review! I haven't gone back to my open bottle of 46 in a while (too many whiskies, too little time, but you're inspiring me.

I'm also excited to try the 49 (in 3 years) because it sounds awesome.

@MaltActivist @Nozinan Thanks for the good words. It is very educating to do an H2H with batches of such a consistent scotch. To discover so many differences among so many similitudes gave me a lesson on the balance and the many ways you can interpret it: balance of flavors, balance of high and low notes, balance of sweetness... And, of course, it is the perfect excuse to take two glasses of a very good scoch!

Cheers!

@tjb

Matured exclusively in spanish oloroso cask between 5 - 25 years this is a classic drop. Since 97 Aberlour have been releasing batches of this each with their own unique profiles. A staple amongst many whisky drinkers cabinets and one to look out for.

Very dark colour. Burnt caramel. The nose is sherry, oak leather and dark fruits. The palate is not as good as the nose. It's spicy, drying, sherry but dry oak runs through it. Add water! it does soften and mellow the oak and makes it much more drinkable and pleasant. Dont be fooled, its a cracking drop but neat it's just too much. Finish is long and spicy but this batch is not as solid as previous such as 37 or 42. I wish i had bought batch 49. I reckon oxidisation will benefit this bottle.

Picked up a bottle of batch 50 today. It's the first Aberlour A'bunadh I've ever tried, but I was VERY impressed. It's a keeper - must have on stock from here on out. Three of my office co-workers tried a bit and were equally impressed. Glad I picked it up on a whim.

5 months opened and it has benefited i think from Oxidisation. Still big, bold flavours but the rawness and drying oak have faded leaving the wonderful sherried fruits and spicy notes to shine. I wo0uld say it has bumped up a good few points from having time to breath and settle.

@Volks

For many years this has been the best bang for buck whisky money could buy. In fact, for about 5 years it was my next whisky to buy. Finally i did.

  • Nose: boiled sweets, burnt sugar, light toffee, loads of vanilla and sherry, a hint of tea and white pepper, glace cherries, plenty of alcohol orange caramel and cardamom. With water buttery, burre niosette and spicy cardamom and brown sugar, very rich but complex, more savoury.

  • Pallet: rich texture alcohol kicks in and limits the pallet With water creamy, buttery and spicy, vanilla, sherry, some leather notes, white pepper again, needs a lot of water to calm the alcohol but it can drown the whisky, big caramel, cinnamon.

  • Finish: orange note comes back, milk chocolate, some cinnamon, but the alcohol is very limiting. With water very gentle, nice spices, vanilla cream, caramel some floral notes and orange in the finish

  • Mark neat – 7.6, with water 8.6

A thoroughly decent whisky,i had this about 5 years ago. Its similar to what i remember, a classic sherry whisky. I still think its very worthy of a place in any cabinet.

Thanks for the detailed review. I've been waiting for my 46th birthday to open this and while I probably won't get to it today, I'll be eager to open it soon.

Several reviewers have suggested that this batch is not among the great ones. I was hesitant to buy it but I wanted to carry on the tradition of batch numbers matching my age (sadly, 48 will be a gap year). What I ended up doing was buying it and using the receipt to return a batch 36 ( I had 2 and after opening the first one I didn't want the other one). I may do the same with my batch 38 once I am able to buy (IF I am able to buy) a batch 50.

Dam, me touch screen let me down there. Anyway. I wouldn't be concerned about whether this is great or not, the standard of Abundah is usually very good or great so your 46th will be a good'n no matter what, and of course, you may find it great. Cheers for your post

@vrudy6

This bottle is from batch 47. It was a gift from my wife way back on Valentines day, and now it's when I feel like doing a review for this. I recently did a review of the Four Roses Small Batch, but I've been wanting to take somewhat of a break. I love writing my so called "reviews", but after a while they feel like a chore. And once it becomes that, it's no longer fun.

This is with three teaspoons of water:

Nose: Huge sherry, milk chocolate, molasses, chocolate cake, caramel, almonds and brazils, deep burnt barley hanging around in the background.

Palate: This is deep. Concord grapes and raspberries soaked in papaya syrup. Dried fruits like raisins and figs. What comes next is sharp, dark, 90% chocolate climbing to Mount Everest. It tops-off with a burlap bag full of spices. Espresso coats the roof of the mouth at the apex.

Finish: Long. A sweetness of burnt sugar echoes. Pilon espresso... not Bustelo!...Pilon-- still lingers.

This is my first "cask-strength" ever! I often read that this is not a good batch. But, as a first timer, this is damn good. When first opened it was really strong. But, once it settled in my decanter for two days with the addition of water, it's ready to enjoy.

This is kind of like eating stone crabs. It takes time and effort to break through the shell to get to the meat. With A'bunadh, it takes a while to get to the soft-spot when adding water. But once it's there, it's lush.

@vrudy6, very nice "so-called review". How true that reviewing should remain fun...and that you need to take a break from it when it seems like a chore. I feel just that way too, with some frequency. I have to put it down for awhile until it will be fun again.

As for A'bunadh Batch # 47, I haven't tasted any of it yet, but, with the really great whiskies, of which A'bunadh is certainly one, even most of the lesser batches are still better than 70-90% of the field out there. Expectations are high with A'bunadh, as they are with George T. Stagg, Thomas H. Handy, and most of the special releases from Ardbeg and Glenmorangie. Put into a bigger context people's sometime relative disappointment is largely because so much was expected.

When I saw the batch number I was a little disappointed, but still elated that it was A'bunadh. Like you mentioned, I still felt that I was about to try a crackin' good whisky even though it's not one of the batches that receive great accolades. Thanks for the comments @victor. Cheers!

m

I bought the bottle several weeks before I dared to open it ,I found the abv just too intimidating .Finally I plucked up the courage and boy were my taste buds rewarded.The first thing that you notice is the astonishing natural colour from the sherry casks and then the nose picks up massive raisin notes and hints of chocolate.Then I brought it to my lips.The first sip numbs the tounge but doesn't shock.The second sip is just beautiful and brings about a broad grin to my face .This is whisky at a different level to my previous experiences,even better than my first talisker 10 which was wonderful at the time .The whisky gave me an amazing mouthfeel which was so much creamier than anything in my previous experience and the beautiful finish just went on and on.As a consequence of this the bottle just seemed to empty itself but such was my enjoyment I bought another 2 bottles due to my fear of being without my newly beloved aberlour.

@maltmate302, nice review. Aberlour is bottled in batches and you can find reviews of many different batches on Connosr. The batches do differ one from another. Which batch is this which you are reviewing?

Batch 49 victor .I realised my mistake the instant I posted but i'll do better next time.Thanks for your encouragement .I'm new to posting but hopefully I'll refine my technique and palette in the future.

K

So this is my first review, been lurking for a long time but really felt that this a community I can mingle with. This is obviously my opinion and can be different for all people.

I hear about the Aberlour A'bunadh from this website, and upon finding it being stocked in a store in HK, I immediately purchased it. Batch 45 and 47 were available, but after much consideration and overall comments, I chose batch 47.

Nose: Wow, strawberry fields, some grapes and berries, cherries for sure, a hint of cream and custard. No peat or smoke, but this already smells promising and delightful. Could pass for a high end Cognac if I were blinded. (Warning: don't put this too close as it could sting your eyes.)

Finish: As I mentioned, so smooth you would never guess the ABV. Finish is not too complicated so may disappoint some, but it is pleasant a calming. If I had to describe it, it would be a roasted marshmallow around a campfire on a windy day. Sweet and warm, sherry, great everyday dram.

Overall, 90/100

I thought the 45 was good, but not as exceptional as the 44 and 33. I've heard good things about the 47 and 49 as well.

I would agree with the idea of getting both, because even lesser batches are usually superior malts. Plus earlier batches will never become more available, only less. SO if you want to taste history, get it now.

Just curious. The scoring at the top is 93 but you gave it a 90/100?

K

So this is my first review, been lurking for a long time but really felt that this a community I can mingle with. This is obviously my opinion and can be different for all people.

I hear about the Aberlour A'bunadh from this website, and upon finding it being stocked in a store in HK, I immediately purchased it. Batch 45 and 47 were available, but after much consideration and overall comments, I chose batch 47.

Nose: Wow, strawberry fields, some grapes and berries, cherries for sure, a hint of cream and custard. No peat or smoke, but this already smells promising and delightful. Could pass for a high end Cognac if I were blinded. (Warning: don't put this too close as it could sting your eyes.)

Finish: As I mentioned, so smooth you would never guess the ABV. Finish is not too complicated so may disappoint some, but it is pleasant a calming. If I had to describe it, it would be a roasted marshmallow around a campfire on a windy day. Sweet and warm, sherry, great everyday dram.

Overall, 90/100

@Malt_Nuisance

Batch 47

Nose: Dark Chocolate covered cherries, red velvet cake. A bowl of sweet sugary candy.

Taste: Sherry bomb oak, Juicy Fruit Gum!! Dark Chocolate.

Finish: Robust sherry chocolate with some nice spice. Medium finish.

Overall:

There still a few of these at the LCBO, though I think 49 is more prevalent now. Given all the reviews I'm glad I bought 2, but will have to wait a year and a half for my 47th birthday.

I really hope I can get my hands on a 50, and that it's a good one...

Overall: Very delicious whisky. Any sherry fan would truly appreciate the quality and balance. Highly recommended. My local store is out of this batch and wish I stocked up on it.

My notes were based on three teaspoons of water.

t

My first experience of an A'bunadh, from batch 45 and purchased in 2013 after being highly recommended from a wide range of sources.

Nose - Lots of sherry sweetness, sweet but closed at first, slightly acetone and wood varnish, lots of vanilla fudge, some maple syrup. Opens up a lot with water. Very rich, loads of red fruits, fruit compote, cough syrup, blackberries and cherries on the arrival, rich Christmas pudding and raisins. Sugared almonds and cinnamon are equally prominent, some marzipan. Later some burnt sugar and rich honey in the background.

Palate - Intense sweet syrupy arrival at the tip of the tongue, cooked fruit syrup, blackberry brandy, sugared dates, raisins, Christmas pudding, later caramelised brown sugar. Develops into rich honey and nuts later on, intense pecans and sugared almonds and marzipan, lots of spices at the centre of the tongue, particularly cinnamon and allspice, with hints of nutmeg and some sweet oak.

Finish - Medium in length, lots of sweet toasted oak, intense cinnamon, a pleasant sawdust note, roasted almonds, pecans, later a hint of tobacco. Pecans, oak and cinnamon remain a little longer.

A fantastic whisky with an incredibly intense nose and syrupy palate, dominated by red berries, caramel and spices. The finish is not of quite the same intensity as the nose and palate, but excellent nonetheless. Already a favourite to turn to in the cabinet!

I think I preferred the 44, but I did like the 45. That and a Bladnoch are likely in the running for first Scotch I go to when I start drinking again.

@Alexsweden

The Aberlour A'Bunadh is one of the most beautifully colored whiskies I have ever seen or tasted with its Deep ruby red.

The very high ABV of this particular whisky had me fooled at first. My premier tasting of this bottle, freshly uncorked and rested about 10-15 minutes in the glass left me quite surprised and a little dissapointed. The alcohol completely numbed my tounge and i couldn't note any particular flavor other than an ideterminable sweetness and a very varm sensation through my mouth.

After a couple of days I sampled it again and the difference was quite profound. Different aromas began to reveal themselves and the taste was beginning to present itself aswell.

Nose: At first quite alcoholic. After getting used to it i get the deep sherry notes. dried figs, red berries compot, pencil shavings, chocolate and foam candy.

Palate: Very mouth-warming indeed, the high ABV numbs the tounge a bit if taken neat. Tastes of strawberries, sherry and oak. It is not very thick and oily but rather it dries the mouth. Adding water lures out some additional sweet strawberry notes.

Finish: Wood, a slight hint of salt, strawberries, dry sherry, ambrosiacake and oak. There is a nuttiness here aswell.

I find this whisky to be very impressive. Big flavours, apparent sherry influence but one that doesn't take over. It is very well balanced.

Currently I am experimenting with adding different quantities off water. The teaspoons in a dram really revealed spiciness. Cloves and a bit of cinnamon perhaps.

Looking forward to sampling this tonight! I always enjoy a few rare strawberry notes from good sherry cask influence. Springbank 10 has a nice strawberry cola thing going on for me.

@SimeonSanchez

It has a rich, ruddy, Bourbon-like color.

The nose is extremely pleasant: strawberry, dried fruit and caramelized citrus. There is no trace of peat. Without water, it hits the tongue like a mallet of sweetness and quickly evaporates into the head, leaving behind a sort of nutty impression that lasts quite awhile. The nose is as close to perfume as I have experienced in a Scotch and has a romantic feeling to me. Spring flowers are mixed with home-cooked desserts.

Water indeed releases its character. It washes over the tongue like chocolate mixed with fruit, rich and substantial, yet sweet as a cherry blossom.

The finish is quite long. Even with water, the viscosity is great. I believe this is what you call a "full-bodied" whisky. It's almost buttery.

@SimeonSanchez, for your review to be useful, we need to know which batch number of Aberlour A'bunadh you are reviewing. Each batch is unique, and some batches are pretty far from others in character. Also some batches are extremely well liked, and others not so much. There is a lot of discussion on the differences among batches of A'bunadh on Connosr.

@simeonsanchez' comment hasn't been moderated yet, but my guess from the description would be batch 44. That was the most recent batch at 59.7%. The one before that would be 28, and 18 before that, and I don't know too many people with intact bottles of those (though I did experience an adulterated bottle).

I really enjoyed the 44 as well. I'm looking forward to trying the 45 in 2 weeks.

@AndyC

BOOM! For me, this is a whisky that makes you smile and say 'ah, this is how whisky should be'. Not subtle, but full of flavour and warmth, and lovely to drink with only a reasonably little splash of water for the strength.

@ Nozinan - I can give you an awser with regard to older batches. #45 is one of the better ones (with a bigger sherry blast than previous batches 40-44). I found 45 to be the best of the 'recent' batches.

Batch 38 is supposed to be the current benchmark but that may not be easy to find.

Sorry, no idea - this is the only batch I've had. Hear mixed things about 46 and 47 though. By the sounds of it 45 is a good batch, a real sherry treat, but think I'll still get one of these newer batches out of interest to compare them, and because it's quite a good price here.

S

Aberlour has set the bar pretty high over the last few years and the A'bunadh is a great example of what this distillery can do. This particular batch is one of the best I've come across. On the nose I get deep spicy cigar box notes and as you'd expect from a sherried malt of this strength and quality - lots of dark, preserved fruits (especially figs). But the palate is where this whisky really shines: A brief burst of warming spice is followed by sweet tobacco, dark chocolate and more figs. The finish is reminiscent of a really lush Oloroso - with the welcome addition of dark juicy cherries. Beautiful.

I'm relieved to read a positive review of this batch, as I've got an unopened bottle of this in my cabinet.

I may be paranoid, but some of the negative commentary on #46 doesn't quite add up. For example, the review just before yours, by "Misty," describes the finish as "chalky" and complains with apparent seriousness that "it's very hazy with the addition of water."

This is strange commentary for a dram that's known to cloud up with water, and Aberlour's reputation being what it is, I am hard pressed to believe that the finish could taste like "soggy oak."

Reading through discussion boards and reveiews, I've seen that A'bunadh is a relatively coveted dram. I wonder if everyone reviews it in good faith.

Hi Nozinan, I've tried a few of them (not as many as I'd like). Batch 33 or 32 - Can't remember which, sorry, wasn't stellar material I must say; a bit austere for my liking and too dry on the finish. I really don't understand the negative comments on batch 46 - although I haven't consumed an inordinate amount of A'bunadh (6 or 7 batches)I'm a relatively experienced whisky drinker - and this stuff tastes superb to me - loads of character and guts, with a beautiful finish. Can I post whisky to Ontario? If so, I could send you a tiny sample of what I've got left...

@Misty

Aberlour A'bunadh batch 46 (cask strength (60.4% ABV)).

Oh dear, this is not good.

Nose: Kind of confused sherrybourbonvanilla influence. Nothing like Batch 45. Some menthol maybe?

Palate: Similar to the nose, a combination of sherrybourbon. But it’s flabby. The beautiful oak spices of 45 are gone. It’s very hazy with the addition of water. Nasty soggy oakchalky finish.

Finish: Nasty, chalky, soggy oak. Not good.

Effect: 3 drams and I don’t feel good. The next morning I can still taste the unpleasant chalky, soggy oak finish. Not happy.

Ageing: Open bottles age poorly, losing some of the vanilla nose.

Man what a difference from 45. Maybe it’s just a bad bottle?

Does anyone else have experience with the 46? I have a 45 waiting for my upcoming 45th birthday, but I don't plan on buying ahead for each birthday unless I hear good things about a specific batch. I don't go through more than 1-2 bottles of this elixir a year, and I have some batches that predate my age (I started with batch 43 when I was 41 and couldn't get in synch until 44) that should fill in any gaps for a while at least.

I would LIKE to hear good things about each batch but then I'd have to buy a second home for the collection by the time I'm 50 and they are at batch 90.

Hmm...perhaps you left the bottle open for too long with to small of a measure in it? Whisky can go off in open bottles due to various factors. Chalky oak, never heard that expression before but when I imagine the taste it does sound terrible.

@Misty

Rarely do I write reviews, but after watching markjedi's whiskey ramblings, I just felt inspired to contribute.

Aberlour A'bunadh batch 45 (cask strength (60.2% ABV)) is truly a stunning dram, especially considering the price point. It's so good; it's the first time I have brought a case of whiskey. I often feel let down by supposed sherry monsters, but not with this one. It’s better than batch 24, which for me, used to be the reference point.

It’s a NAS, but who cares when it’s this good.

Nose: It’s all sherry, cinnamon, cloves, caramel and other wonderful Christmas things.

Palate: Explosion of sherry laden Christmas cake, caramel and beautiful oak spices of clove, star anise and cinnamon.

Finish: Short on the spices and oak (not complex).

Effect: 3 drams and I feel all happy and warm, like slipping into a hot bath on a cold winter’s night. The next morning, it is as if I was drinking nothing more nefarious than warm milk. Fantastic. In direct comparison, 3 drams of Longrow-Burgundy Finish leaves me feeling quite rough. I appreciated this is purely subjective!

Ageing: Open bottles age well. Neither better nor worse for oxidation in the short term.

Great, my first review here and I can't even spell 'bliss'.

Sigh....

Lol its ok most people will read it as bliss, I did. Good choice for a 1st review. I've always wanted to find one of the A'bunadh batches. As I love the Aberlour 12 DC and 16 DC.

@Jules

My first taste of a cask-strength Scotch - and what a taste it is!

After having tasted various Glenfarclas', Macallans and GlenDronachs I decided I wanted the full (sherry)monty, so to speak ... and it certainly is a sherry-bomb!

I leave this to breathe for about 20 mins and find it is alarmingly drinkable for a 60%ABV

Matured only in ex-Oloroso casks, I've heard the whisky in this is between 8 and 14 years old.

Lot's of cinammon and sherry on the nose. Taken neat - strawberry jam, apple pie, cinammon, demerara sugar - it's all there. Syrupy and lucious on the tongue, but hard to detect a whole lot of malt beneath the heavy sherry... maybe just a tad more maltiness would have taken this up to a '90' for me.

Beware though - this is seriously rich stuff. Adding water softens the sweetness. I think drinking this neat just before another scotch would seriously impact your palate. Everything else would just taste bitter afterwards!

I've heard that batch 43 & 44 were not as full-on sherried as earlier ones, but I think this must surely be A'Bunadh back to it's sherried best.

It's not extremely complex, but if it's a sweet speyside dessert-dram you're looking for you cannot go wrong with this.

Wow! I'm saving my bottle of 45 for my 45th birthday, but you're making it really difficult to wait another 6 months.

I agree about the palate effect. I served Amrut Intermediate Sherry right after the 32 and the 44, and it was far from a hit. As the first dram it's spectacular.

Anyone tried the 46? I need to decide how far ahead I buy for my birthdays...

@Aulay

Well bodied and thick Sherried Malt. Cask strength. Lovely thick malty tastes of grapes, Dates, and figs with a faint wisp of baked apples and cinnamon. Deliciously complex and a terrific after dinner malt. Slainte!

@fredthefrench

I'm in sherry cask mood these days. As i want to taste a Glenfarclas for the first time i have read a lot of connosr reviews to know if i should start with 12 or 15 yo (and i still didn't made my mind)...as well as i plan to order samples of Glendronach to give them a second chance after beeing a little disappointed by 12 & 15 a few years ago (not yet ready for SC ?) Anyway...I found the brand new AB # 46 in the Lafayette Gourmet grand magasin in Paris this afternoon on my way back from work and, of course, couldn't help purchasing a specimen. I don't have much experience in AB and i'm not able to compare any other batch than 38 with this new comer. One thing is evident, this batch is less "in your face" than 38. I like the nose of 38, more than the palate that i find a little bit on the oak-spice side (which is good anyway) but 46 is smoother (more bourbon like, it reminds me something of my beloved Blanton's, vanilla maybe). Nose has a immediate chocolat Mon Chéri-kirsh profile and it deepens with air, revealing sultanas and figs of course and even caracteristic cocoa finish notes of sherry casks but all very balanced, smooth, polite, calm and clean. Always that Aberlour profile, very fresh, not on the dark side but nevertheless with some caracteristics of more dark chocolate profiled sherry casks. Something hardly versatile and less one-dimensional that i was expecting. I thought i had difficulties with CS but this one contradict me. That's the first time i admit the eventuality of drinking a CS undiluted. Indeed,this batch has very good manners. I paired it with a Chocolate "Macaron à l'ancienne" from Jean-Paul Hévin chocolate maker and believe me, it was heaven !

Sounds promising. I wasn't planning to purchase it as the batches tend to come out faster than I can drink them, but the recent shortage has given me second thoughts. I'm saving the 45 for my 45th birthday, and I suppose I could hold on to this for a year and a half if I HAVE to...

It strikes me that i have candied orange peels too. that's what reminds me Blanton's lovely profile!

@hunggar

If there’s one whisky that doesn’t need another review out there it’s this one, but I couldn’t resist. If you’ve read some of my previous reviews, you know I love sherry casked whisky. This one is about as sherried as it gets. It’s considered the penultimate sherry bomb by many, for good reason. This is a review of batch 45, now opened for roughly two months.

Nose: Very sherry indeed. Dates, raisins, plums, orange rind, cherries and other dark fruits. Cherry cola? The sweetness is counterbalanced with a slight acidic bitterness that I can only compare to wine tannins. Marzipan, licorice and dark chocolate. Christmas cake and cinnamon. A touch of malt in there too. Rich, powerful, and complex.

Palate: The arrival is very interesting. It is immediately a bit dry with some salt. But it quickly explodes with an array of wonderful flavours. Pepper comes in first, then the sherry notes. Loads of fruits. Very dry and very red. Berries, orange, raisins, dates, and apple. The fruity character is somewhat sweeter on the palate than on the nose.

Finish: This is where the oak comes in. Somewhat meaty. Lots of roasted nuts and a bit of charcoal. Quite a dry and fruit heavy finish. Saltier than I expected it to be. Fruits and floral notes carry on and on. Strong sherry fruits with a hint of floral, grapey brandy notes. Lovely. It’s a long, rich, and gorgeous finish.

I’ve always talked about my love of heavily sherried whiskies. Ironic that it’s taken so long for me to write a review of the A’bunadh. It’s precisely my kind of dram. Cask strength, very sherried, and affordable. It’s not my favorite cask strength sherry bomb, but it’s a damn good one by any standard. It’s not a mystery as to why this stuff is so popular. It’s a big whisky with big flavour. An essential for all sherry lovers.

Very nice review. I just reviewed this same expression yesterday. We're quite aligned on the flavor profiles.

Nice review. I like the notice of unexpected salt.

I'll be the annoying guy, though, who points out that A'bunadh is not the second-to-last sherry bomb. (That's what "penultimate" means.)

@MaltActivist

There's been a recent spate of high strength sherry monsters and this one fits the bill perfectly.

The nose is quite gorgeous with heavy sherried oak sprinkled with mounds and mounds of crushed almonds. This is set against the backdrop of a chocolate and date fudge cake covered in lovely autumn dark fruits. Adding a few drops of water encourages fragrant rose petals to come through.

The strong delivery is ripe full of dark chocolate, pepper corns and maple syrup. The addition of water makes the spirit a touch palatable by bringing down the 60.2% ABV and introduces that same lovely rose water you get on the nose.

The long finish is full and boasts of roasted almonds.

A lovely dram that keeps opening up the longer you sit with it.

@mattberg

I've been drinking A'bunadh for about three years fro about batch 32. This batch 45 is I think the most balanced, complex and interesting I've tasted.

I've added two teaspoons of water and left for 20 mins. The nose is full of almonds, raspberries, melon, marzipan, barley sugar and sherry. Gone are the rubbery sulphur blasts that were in earlier bottles, just a sweet fruit almond sherry.

The arrival is softer and silkier than earlier bottles, with a light oily coating of marzipan again, more almonds, nutmeg, oranges, oak, a light liquorice and dark chocolate raisin spice finish. Reminds me of a fine aged Cognac.

This is an excellent whisky at great price punching well above it's weight.

I just received a bottle from batch 45! This is excellent and you are right,On the nose: marzipan and sweet sherry. I also get dark fruit cake, burnt brown sugar and oddly just a whisper of the famous Cherry Blossom Chocolate bars I used to eat as a kid. I tame down the lovely devils in the drink with two or three spoonfuls of water. This is a smooth drink and I love it. I don't get the licorice but definitely marzipan and a suspicion of orange. Who could ask for more. I gave this a 94 without hesitation. My hat is off to the master distiller who put this together! Leo

I am very envious. I have a bottle waiting for my 45 th birthday. Still many months to go. Won't be any left to get a spare by the time I decide I like it. But what can I do? They release it faster than I can drink it...

@Nozinan

This is a rich malt. Rich in the nose, rich in the taste, rich in the mouthfeel. A little drier and maybe just a little more spirity (the newer ones seem to be) than the 33, but a very fine dram.

Chocolate, dried fruits, warmth....this is something you can let overcome you for hours...

I have this waiting to be opened, and you aren't helping my patience.

You mean the rich aroma, chocolate wafting up, dried fruits, sip, after luxurious sip ......?

@WhiskyBee

Last year I wrote a review of Aberlour A’bunadh that now embarrasses me. Simply put, I wasn’t ready for this beast yet. About four months after I wrote the review, I fell in love with this stuff. It was not unlike my relationship with the neighborhood girl I teased all through childhood. Then one day I woke up and realized how much we had in common and how pretty she was.

I now own four bottles of A’bunadh, and I’m sure I’ll own many more in the months and years to come. It’s time for me to make amends for the callow ignorance I displayed last year and provide a more informed review of Aberlour’s most popular expression. This will be a quadruple review of the four batches in my cabinet: #32, #34, #40, and #44. I’ll first provide nosing-and-tasting notes for those elements I find common to all four, then I’ll share my thoughts on the differences among them.

My supply of batch #40 (which I’ve decanted) is down to the last couple of drams; batches #32 and #34 are slightly above the halfway mark, and #44 is just a few drams down. If my review starts to read like a chapter from Finnegan’s Wake as it goes along, that’s because I usually don’t have four healthy drams of 60% ABV whisky in one evening.

One challenge herein is determining how much water to add to each dram. Water can affect the taste of this whisky to a great degree. I don’t need as much water with A’bunadh as I used to, but I prefer slightly varying amounts with each. For instance, the amount of water I prefer with batch 40 tends to bring out a sulfur note in batch 32, so I usually ease up on the H2O with 32. I reasoned that the best approach was to add the same amount of water (a teaspoon) to each in order to level the playing field.

I jumped around among all four while doing the nosing. For the tasting, I took a long taste of one batch, wrote some notes, then another long taste and more notes. I then had some water, a bite of bread, and a few minutes’ rest before moving on to the next batch.

Nose (all): The king of the sherry bombs lives up to its title. A dry sherry, despite the sweetness in the rest of the nose. Lots of dark chocolate, raisins, vanilla, and malty caramel. I find these elements in all four batches, their prominence varying.

Nose (#32): A bit of licorice here that I don’t detect in the others. It also seems to have the heaviest vanilla content, and it’s got a fairly strong oak note as well. Maybe a trace of nail polish, but it’s slight and I don’t get it with every whiff.

Nose (#34): Probably the softest of the bunch (although there’s no such thing as a soft A’bunadh), as well as the one for which the sherry tends to obscure everything else. Maybe a little sulfur and a bit of camphor. Very, very sweet this one. Behind the sherry are s’mores (chocolate, marshmallows, graham crackers) smeared with grape jelly.

Nose (#40): Angrier and more medicinal than the rest. Harsh and thick with toffee, cough syrup, and hot spices galore. Like someone added too much potpourri to the cooking pot and left it on the stove too long. Yet somehow I like it, even if it is my least favorite nose of the four.

Nose (#44): The fruitiest and most complex of them all. Like a thick paste of dark fruits that’s been warming in the oven, if that makes sense. There are also a few bitter and rubbery notes that somehow work just fine in the overall balance. The winner in the nose category.

Palate (all): All four seem very dry on the arrival, but this is just a setup for the mouth-watering burst of sweetness and peppery spices that soon follow—a perfect progression. Sweet cream, chocolate, oranges, maple, vanilla, and toasted oak wood. And, yeah, loads of sherry.

Palate (#32): Licorice again. I get chocolate in all four, but it’s strongest with this one. As promised by the nose, there’s lots of vanilla here. There’s some salt here that I don’t find in the others, and I like how it balances the sweetness. Batch #32 might not be my overall favorite, but it might win by a whisker at this stage.

Palate (#34): Sweet, sweet, and again sweet. The only one with virtually no salt or bitterness to balance the array of sweet delights: hard candy, raisins, oranges, apples, grape jelly, and cherry cough syrup. I like this one much better when I’m not sampling four A’bunadhs in one evening. Tonight, the sweetness overwhelms. The most unique of the four because of it.

Palate (#40): The least complex and layered of the four, but still excellent overall. Probably a little more cinnamon spice and oak wood here compared to the others, as well as more fiery caramel and cough syrup.

Palate (#44): The bitterest of the bunch, but probably the best balanced. Acidic cigars, oak wood, and rubber contrast well with the dark fruits, cinnamon, and shortbread cookies. Also gets my vote for the most evolving palate in that it requires the most time for all the flavors to emerge. That’s why I like it.

Finish (all): Fairly long and very hearty. Starts sweet and hot, finishes dry and hot. Sherry and hot cinnamon candies on a buttercream-frosted devil’s food cake, along with flaming caramel and boiling cough syrup.

Finish (#32): Butter, pepper, licorice, sherry, and honey. Seems to go back and forth between sweet and bitter as it fades. The busiest and most interesting finish of all.

Finish (#34): The other three have a more natural progression from nose to palate to finish; this one holds the most surprises at the end. Sharper overall, but softer on the sherry than the others. A little salt here (or maybe salted nuts to be more specific) that was definitely not on the tongue. I could be imagining things, but I think I’m getting a trace of peat here as well. The finish may be unexpected, but the abrupt about-face lends this one some balance. Individual components may be stronger in the others, whereas the beauty in this one rests in the overall experience.

Finish (#40): A little more nondescript than the rest, even as I’m getting some sulfur and cleaning chemicals. Fortunately, the flaming-caramel sweetness sends things out with a satisfying kick.

Finish (#44): Seems to be the longest of them all, if only slightly. Peppery but silky smooth. Cinnamon, dark fruits, chocolate chip cookies, and some tannins at the very end to bring the sweetness to a halt at just the right moment.

Amazing how different each batch is, yet so similar in their core components. Individual scores:

Batch #32: 92

Batch #34: 90

Batch #40: 90.5

Batch #44: 93

And there you have it. Am I (hic!) still writing? Gee, it’s (hic!) hot in here and the room’s movin’ awful fast...z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z……………………………………(hic!).

Interesting discussion. Of course, Whiskybee, your "vatting" remains a single malt as it is all from the same distillery.

I have a miniature of the 105. I should give it a try. I wonder how the Glendronach CS will compare t the A'Bunadh. I suspect my product preference (I was going to say loyalty but it's a drink, not a friend) will remain with the A for a while (especially as I have 15 sealed bottles of it - 12 different batches and my brother in law has another).

I have vatted the tail of my 38 bottle with Aberlour 18, Dalwhinnie, and, later, a little glenlivet 12. I actually found it to be a better bland than any of the individuals (maybe because they had been around too long).

I used to like the A'b more than I do these days. I favor the Glenfarclas 105 over the A'b. About the same price and the Farc vats really well, whereas the A'b doesn't vat with other whiskies well at all. It goes very sour with some other whiskies when blended with them. Of course, vatting is not everything and I don't vat often. It's just a fun little thing to do with a small amount of a really concentrated and sweet bottle of scotch.

@MisterDigger

I noticed that some of the most highly rated reviews are those pertaining to cask strength releases that kill taste buds and go to one's head immediately. Hmm!! Another excuse for getting lit? (of course!)

Well, for this test of the Three Aberlours, I added 3 parts well water to 7 parts A'bundadh, which brought all three to 43% ABV for a fair comparison. Even with this dilution, the A'bundadh had the most prominent nose of all, which is caramel and leather, similar to oak bourbon casks. By the way, this one is single cask oloroso sherry, wheras the 12 and 16 year old versions are both double cask.

As of this writing, there is only one other single malt that scored better, which is Glenkinchie 12 that tastes nothing at all like this one.

I used to think that bourbons had an amazing range of tastes until I tried single malts. Now I see why there is a need for a Single Malt Flavor Map, because the differences are HUGE, which makes me happy.

Broadwayblue, this is Batch Number 40. The joy of cask strength is that one can add water to their own taste, which could vary from day to day. As another reviewer stated, this is also one to drink full strength when in a pissed off mood. I used to drink Booker's Bourbon undiluted for those kind of days. A'bunadh beats Bookers by a long shot.

Another satisfied A'bunadh customer! What batch was this?

R

Nose: Full and decadent. All spice. Typical Aberlour bourbonesque disposition. Cinnamon. Apple pie with brown sugar top.

Palate: Cactus syrup, sherry (Oloroso?), dates, prunes, oak, touch of charcoal, with some caramel, maple granola, bread pudding as the tongue re-salivates a bit.

Finish: Long indeed. More sherry, cinnamon hard candy, all spice, oak, keeps the tongue guessing, still a bit of heat with quite a bit of water.

This batch is nice. I'm using more water than with earlier batches. The water seems to bring out some very nice characteristics with 39. Or maybe I'm just learning how water can be one's good friend with these cask strength whiskies.

Lack of vanilla characteristics in this one, and less or no cocoa (fudge). I taste neither in this batch. It also becomes less bourbonesque with time in the glass.

Who's your Abba?

I'm normally against adding water (when tasting) because there are far too many variables involved to get anything consistent.

At the risk of sounding nerdy or a hyper-precisionist (which I'm not) I've discovered 6 drops in 20ml usually does the trick - this also I might do with malts that are over 57% just to see if anything happens.

I think different whiskies react differently and in my experience the majority lose their personality when water is added. There are a few notable expressions though which I feel are enhanced with the addition of water.

And thank you @rigmorole - I am doing quite well. I have some interesting new expressions on the way which I would love to share notes with you soon.

I haven't tried the 39, but I've never put more than a few drops into a glass. I too use a glencairn, but my "drams" are about 15-20 cc, so about half what you describe.

But it just comes down to personal tastes. I spend a lot of time nosing, and take small sips infrequently, so I can take the rich full strength .

@TheEnabler

nose (neat) Rich, sugary fruit, sherry & caramel

taste (neat) thin but oily, burn of alcohol giving way to sweetness - peppermint, christmas cake, wood and hints of leather

nose (water) vanilla, cherries, toffee, softer wood

taste (water) caramel, vanilla, maple syrup... soft lingering sweetness

Which batch was this? Seems a bit less stellar than most.

Aye, that's what several other people have told me... I wish I'd written down the batch number -- I will take a look through my sample bottles the next time I get a chance and see if it's on there.

n

from a purchased sample

Nose: Rich, oxidized sherry. Very vinuous, no surprise. Salty nuts. Grapy. Christmas cake, light chocolate malt, and a little vanilla. Obvious red wild fruit and berries, something citric like grapefruit, coffee, and honey. Fudge. It's very nice. (with water) Much brighter and more vivid. Actually, the it's almost too sharp here. A few more notes of rose petals and pink flavors - strawberries with salt and some wax. Chocolate malt and orange extract. Baking spices and more toffee melted on burned spicy fruit cake.

Palate: A bit off here, to be honest. Fudge, honey, chocolate, a bit dry. Alcohol is loud, not a shocker at this proof. Burnt caramel/brown sugar, fruit cake, cocoa nibs, and some gummy dried fruit. (with water) More baking spices, honey, fudge, chocolate malt, and a little red fruit (raspberries).

Finish: Toffee, red fruit, fudge, pudding, and all the rest of a decent sherried firecracker. It falls a bit short with water, but it still works and does well. I think that I prefer the nose with water and the palate and finish just a hair neat.

Wow, 45, that's getting up there. i have a batch 39 in my safe. Probably won't open it for a while longer. . . the years keep marching on and the batches keep getting higher. What's your favorite batch to date, Numen? I like the A'b over the Aberlour 18. At first I really liked the 18, but it ceased to charm like the A'b most often does. Like the 12, the 18 is noticeably bourbony without the big sherry payoff.

I've liked the a'bunadh that I've tried, but haven't tried enough of them to have a favorite. Have you tried other batches and do you have a preference? I'm intrigued by aberlour and looking forward to trying more

L

This review gives a precise review (w. tasting notes) of the batch 44, and also my view on the a'bunadh phenom.

It's hard to believe that this NAS cask strength experimental bottling from the correct but somewhat uneventfull distillery of Aberlour would become the modern by-word for sherry-bomb in the whisky world. It was in late 1996 that the first bottling appeared, and now its a only a few years away from 20 years old, and it is safe to say that it has achieved way more than the distillers expected: Sherry Royalty and Modern Classic.

I have allways been more of a glenfarclas 105 man myself but this is its rival who has tested it, roughened&softened it, and made it better in my eyes, through the adversity offered by this now legendary bottling. I have now tried 3 expressions of a'bunadh and while one is in my personal top 10, i think all of them are excellent. But now i will review the batch 44.

Nose: Burnt raisins and sultanas to the fore with some cocoa and roasted coffee beans. Sweet and "rhummy" nose, chocolate and with a clean oloroso quality that has become this whisky's trademark.

Palate: Wonderfull body when the appropriate amnount of water is added, although this isn't an overly sensitive sherry-monster. It is subtle yet without being fragile, perfect body. It can take the water although, as wioth all sherry whiskies, be moderate with water (one drop at a time). Figues and dates greet alongside burnt raisins and sultanas that come back from the nosing here in the flavour. Wonderfull body that glides on top of the tastebuds like a mix of Tuscan fine olive oil and light golden syrup mmm! Then cocoa and Coffee followed by.. Uuuumph More Coffee!! Begins with creamy table coffee to balanced arabica note then finally to an (explosive almost) bitter double-espresso heat rush. In other words a coffee-train-wreck thats just enough as to not wreck the subtlety. Great!

Fantastic stuff again! Although the coffee bitterness was nearly overpowering in the end, and the finish isn't quite as well composed as some of the best iterations, but you can't have everything rigth? One of the jewels in the crown of scotch sherry-bomb Royalty!

Great review. I can't wait to open my Batch 44!

Thanx! Don't think you will be disappointed ;)

n

These tasting notes are part of the same rediscovered notes from last October, and, mercifully, they're still interesting to me at the very least.

From a purchased sample

Nose: Very rich and slightly sweet cherries, chocolate, vanilla extract, menthol, and dark red berry jam. As it opens up I found more of the fudgy characteristics in fig compote and fruit cake. Orange liqueur and pecan pie filling (who doesn't like any of that?) It's nice and very approachable.

Palate: Warm and a little fiesty (current note to self: duh.) I really like this. Chocolate malt, cherries, strawberry jam. Wood is a little drying and provides some structure. Orange rind, chocolate and orange liqueur. There's a trend here. Maybe a subtle strain of honey and buttery caramel. Definitely pecan pie. (I like this a lot; I also happened to be a very fat kid. I really liked pecan pie.) Oxidative note from the sherry.

Finish: Very well on sherry - all around. The high-pitch and the low-pitch. Cherries, red apple meat, strawberries, and fortified wine (none of that Manischewitz nonsense.) Chocolate malt, pecan, and burned creme with sugar. Not the most finessed, but then what would you want from a sherry monster?

@vanPelt

My first A'bunadh tasting: Batches 38 and 41 were what I could get my hands on. They are differentiated in the following, since that appears to be important.

First vapor: Caramel and leather, spectacular and sweet. But this seems to dissipate fairly quickly.

Nose: Not where it shines (unless a little water is added): After the first breathing, the nose becomes weak and it can be hard to differentiate the fragrance from the alcohol burn. No 38: Light toffee and orange rind with peach and some deeper creaminess.
Water brings butter to the toffee. No. 41: Same, but with less cream and more spicy and flowery potpourri. Water seems to bring some cream and ginger; more kills the spice and brings cashew and butter.

Palate: No. 38: Best described as serious toffee waves: powerful sweetness-- even becoming sour in its sweetness-- vying to dominate some oak and salt. Creamy vanilla cashew with brown sugar. Water deletes those powerful waves and brings strawberry and then orange, hinting at peach. No. 41: Same, but more candy at first, and then more honey and flowery. Water has the same effect but brings out nuttier tones.

Finish: No. 38: Brown sugar and oak wood; maybe a little honey and ginger. No. 41: Salty cashew and vanilla-- and again oak wood, but it gives more an impression of potpourri and hot cinnamon.

I love the high cask strength (in small sips, if that is worth mentioning), which brings such intense flavors that I find myself craving. The two batches had the same overall character of strong caramel; they differed mainly in their extents of orange/potpourri vs. cream/nut. The addition of water brought a creamier character, softening any sour/bitter characteristics, especially for the 41 batch; but of course it douses some of intensity of flavor that make a unique experience.

Which did you like better. I found the 38 my least favourite of the ones I have tried.

So far my order is 33,44,32,34,38. I still have to try the legendary 28 (waiting for a more mature palate), 27, 35,36,37

@Nozinan: I definitely need to try more of these then! Of these two, the 38 suited my tastes more, probably because I prefer creaminess to "potpourri" (slightly bitter spice with delicate floral notes). However, if adding water, then I preferred the 41 for becoming somewhat richer. Thanks for the guide, I hope I get the chance to explore that much.

@PMessinger

Warm smooth slow fruity multi layered arival, sweet spicey developes a complex long slow well balanced finish. Wow there is a lot going on in this dram.

Batch 39 was excellent, but it was significantly edged by Batch 38 in my opinion.

@Bigtuna

The bottle is about dry, so I figured I better write its review before it was too late. While the bottle has been open for almost a year, it still remains in tack and is still very enjoyable. It was good if not great right out of the gate (maybe a little hot on the nose however), but it seemed to improve as I worked my way through the bottle. Now it’s getting time to finish it off before I think twice about my score. I hate to see this one go; hopefully, its replacement will be just as tasty, whatever batch it may be.

This was first tasted neat in a Glencairn glass with 3 to 4 drops of water added later. This bottle was batch 34, bottled at 59.5 % ABV. It has been open for about 10 months and about 2 inches remains in the bottle.

Nose: Moderate amount of alcohol (up front, however not overpowering even at 59.5%), lots of sherry, vanilla, spicy (maybe cinnamon spiced apples), trace amount of smoke (water seemed to bring out the smoke more).

Taste: sherry, dark chocolate, spicy, slightly salty, a little oaky, more sherry, dark berries of some sort (black berries?), vanilla (not as much as nose suggests), and more sherry. Water seemed to round all the flavors out, cutting down the spiciness a hair; however, the sherry is still in the spotlight.

Finish: Long, mouth coating creaminess (long legs and oily look in glass), lingering sherry, and dark chocolate again (more of the slight bitterness of a good dark chocolate), the sherry spiciness really stays on the tongue. I picked up more vanilla with water.

Balance: While the sherry is up front, there is a nice balance of sweetness and spiciness going on. At such a high ABV you would expect the alcohol to overpower everything but it doesn’t. Water opens it up nicely, but I prefer it neat.

I’ve really enjoyed this whisky. It was my first cask strength whisky and I’m convinced that unfiltered and full strength is more than just another gimmick. While I’ve only been drinking single malts for about 3 years or so, this has to be my favorite whisky I’ve tasted since making the switch from bourbon to single malts. I’m sure there are better whiskies out there, so I couldn’t give it a perfect 100, but it ranks as my top scoring whisky to date!

Well written review! allways intriguing to read about different batches of the same whisky.

I've tried the 34. It'snot, in my opinion, as good as the 33 or 44. But it's good, as good as you say.

T

Now, with all the praising reviews this whisky has gotten, I definitely had high hopes for this one. I have to say it didn't immediately blow me away, but this dram is definitely impressive and something I'll gladly enjoy at any time. All tasting notes are with a splash of water.

The color is deep and dark amber, a beautiful color truly.

Nose: First thing you'll get is the sherry, but it's not sweet sherry but rather dry and even oaky. Faint notes of mint, nuts and dark chocolate. It's luxurious and simply a nose of a nice whisky.

Palate: Full and rich. Powerful sherry, nuts and malt. Some minty dark chocolate, maybe hints of apple. Very nice indeed.

Finish. Continuing from the palate with same malty and nutty notes. The alcohol definitely tingles the mouth. After it starts to dry you'll get the last slowly fading notes of chocolate and spices.

A must addition to any cabinet, a true masterpiece of a dram. These notes were written immediately after opening the bottle. I have a feeling this will still evolve and continue to impress.

Try batch 44 . Probably my second favourite batch so far after the 33. Also tried 32 and 34 ( pretty good) and 38, my least enjoyed. Went into a blend of tailings which turned out pretty good.

@abunadhMatada

A'bunadh is definitely my go to scotch! It's amazing how small differences from batch to batch can make a subtle but huge difference. So far I've tried batches 37,38,and 44. 38 is the least favorite, and 37 comes in second. Poured a deep dark amber into a Glencairn glass. Scent of Dried sweet fruits, toffee goodness, maple syrup will greet your nose. Could smell this all day! On the palate you get huge sherry notes, maple syrup, toffee, caramel, hint of chocolate. Finish is long and chewy. How can u not like this whisky? Took it to a party and it actually made the party. Everyone loved it, from novice to aficionados.

I had to pick up an extra 44 after I tried it. Definitely one for the archives! I do put away full sealed sample bottles of each batch ( except I started after the 33 - good thing I have another bottle of it) and one day I'll do a tasting. I think officially that would be called a vertical tasting because it's all from one distillery, but if I have too many it may turn into a horizontal tasting, as in me being horizontal...

I wouldn't have guessed you liked the A'bunadh.

@tjb

There has been a lot said and writen about A'Bunadh and I must say right from the outset that I wasn't disappointed. This review is for batch 42. I could embroider this review with ostentatious superlatives but this drop speaks for itself.

The nose is sweet, spicy, orange peel with sherry overtones.

It feels smooth with a rich oily texture which rolls over the tongue. Black cherries with dark chocolate lead to spices and a buttery creamy sherry.

The finish is smooth with a bitter sweet tang, spiced fruit and oak.

I am very impressed, it is classy and I have found a new friend for life.

I have a couple of bottles of this. One to try and one to save and drink in the future ( though if they continue to make new batches that future will never come...). I bought 2 on spec because most batches are good, and also because I wanted to have a batch 42 in the archives. I was turned 42 the year I really started getting into Whisky, and anyone who has read Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy knows that 42 is "the answer to life the universe and everything". Whisky being "water of life"' that batch MUST be the answer!

I am anxiously waiting for my local liquor stores to get the #42 in, still 41 on the shelves. Glad to read all these positive reviews!

@UisgeJon

This bugger was batch 40. Judging by the reviews on this site, it looks like I need to seek out some different batches and experience the lot of 'em!

60%. Are you kidding me? Taking a seat at one of my favorite bars to try new Whiskies, I pulled up their menu. When I saw the A'bunadh (Ah-BOON-uh), after reading such raving revues regarding it, I had to give it a go. And boy do I love this dram.

First and foremost, I normally don't comment on the color too often, but this color was stunning, especially considering that it is the natural color. A deep, deep hue of brown and amber. I just love the look of this spirit in the glass.

Nose: Stunningly good. I pulled this dram in somewhat gingerly given the 60% ABV, but there wasn't a single thing offputing about this nose. It was marvelous. Fire, heat, campfire smoke, dark fruits, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg... gorgeous.

Palate: What a big, fiery personality!! Very robust. It hits the palate with warmth, brown sugar, with this gorgeous spicy sherry that comes straight from the first-fill Oloroso Sherry casks. Even some chocolate, giving an awesome depth to this spirit. This dram is enchanting. I love this!

Finish: Fantastic, it just keeps coming back with heat, big personality, cherry, vanilla, sherry, and more spice. I couldn't help but smile the whole way through this dram.

Unbelievable. A must. A favorite. I can confidently stand by my scoring on this Whisky and list this right up there for the best Whisky I have had thus far.

Jon - I am curious how long you have been drinking whisky and say how many bottles - a hundred, two hundred? I am curious - I am pretty new to this - I have gone through roughly 25 bottles this last year. Needless to say, my views and reviews have changed dramatically - and, I expect they will in the next single year when I add 100% of whisky time to my life (though, sadly, drinking it straight does take a toll on the oral tissues.... and slows the pace of research.... damn...

I will look forward, however, to the the one remaining A'Bunagh that I have remaining - maybe in a year - or slightly more. I will see what my perspectives - and now I am somewhat willing to open with water - the desert can be fantastic!!

Hmmmm, sounds delicious, this review makes me want to run to the shop and get one from what little money theres left! Good job, but you´re making life difficult! ;) Uigedail, Abunadh or Laga 12 for the next big bottle?

@abunadhMatada

Color: Deep Amber, Mohagany

Nose: Sweet Fruit Cake, Maple,Rum Raisin,and lots of Sherry

Body: Heavy, Oily, kind of syrupy

Palate: Sherry, Rum, Toffee, Raisin,

Finish: Still tasting it.... Great length

This whisky was the first single malt I had, that had a sherry influence. And i am absolutely loving it. So much going on in the palate, every dram, i get something different. My description of this whisky does not do justice. The 60.3%abv is not overpowering to me at all,,, so much flavor and complexity that complements the smooth, warming finish. An extraordinary Whiskey.

And the batch was?

Oh....it was batch 37 and 38 37 being 59.something %abv 38 was 60.3%abv

Both superb by my standards...

@Spartacus

On the nose: a wonderful fruity sweet apples and a little smokey toffee with a sherry presence.

Palate : Spices (peppery), toffee apples and choccolate orange

Finish : Spices continue and honey comes in.... long lasting finish

Definatley better with a little water to bring out the full bomb of flavours in this superb value Dram

@AKGcandlefish

Color: rose-tinted deep amber.

Nose: Heavy sherry influence with an aroma of mulling spices and lemon zest. Fresh-baked cinnamon orange rolls, caramel apples, candied pears, and rainier cherries dipped in vanilla yogurt.

Body: Very full and creamy before adding water.

Palate: At 60% alcohol, that's all you'll taste before adding water. I gave it about a teaspoon of water per an ounce of whiskey. Now it's a veritable bake sale of decadent strudels, danishes, cakes, and scones. Fresh fruits and nuts throughout. I swear I taste honey-drizzled baklava (a nice treat, since I recently acquired an allergy to walnuts). But be careful: by the time you realize what you're tasting, you might already be drunk (I was!).

Finish: Long, warm finish of languishing cinnamon and dark chocolate.

Merry Christmas to me! The wife and I decided to do "grown up" Christmas tonight to get our gifts to each other out of the way and focus on the kiddos in the morning. This was one near the top of my wish list, and my only regret is that the wide-mouthed bottle prevents me from installing it into my wall-mounted bar (see my profile pic). This isn't the most unique Scotch I've ever tasted, but it raises the game for a flavor-profile I've experienced elsewhere. This one will be fun to share with the family when they visit tomorrow afternoon.

Been drinking this for a few years... great Christmas dram!... Have enjoyed half a bottle of batch 44 over the past few days.... super-intense liquorice bomb, I normally leave for a month and then enjoy the other half... normally throws up alsorts of surprises.

I plan on sipping mine a good deal more slowly, but I do stop and smell the bottle every time I pass it.

@Jericho

Saw some glowing reviews of this, and I just had to try it!

Nose: Holy cow! This stuff is sooooo powerful, many teaspoons of water to tone this one down! But once you do this is just packed with complex sweet sherry, vanilla, cream, and pepper. Just a whole plethora of great flavours all combined into one powerful sniff!

Palate: You really need water for this one guys! With enough water to have no anesthesia, this whisky delivers absolutely everything it promised in the nose, superb sherry monster.

Finish: The flavours developed into the palate linger and linger, it's truly superb whisky, and everyone should try this!

Batch 38 was a show stopper. For complexity and length it had no rival. Batch 19 and 28 were both outstanding, but they still had to bow to the mighty Batch 38. Very sadly missed.

@Lucianandrei

Let's say you have a bad day, even rainy as the scotish days are.:)) you come home and eventually open up the bottle. And a new good day starts....:))) right , enough with small talk.. Until now this is by far the best whisky i drank. The sweet smell wich makes you aware that something good is going to happen, the caramel-raisins-cookies taste goes on and on and on and like never finishes . a briliant taste wich last and makes you enjoy every moment of it. Try to ad some more water if is possible -is really strong and the alcohol might ruin the taste... I highly recomend it... Unfortunatelly i don't have enough words for it...:)) hmmmmmmmmmm...enjoy!

@Lucianandrei. What Batch number are you reviewing? If it's that good I want some.

I have heard the 28 is awesome but hard to find. I like the 33 a lot, and just tried the 38. All great

@WhiskyBee

I'm only about a year and a half into my "single malt journey," so this will not be the review of a seasoned whisky veteran. I'll admit that I feel a bit under-qualified to speak on this whisky, but perhaps my views will serve as a cautionary note to others just starting to explore the single-malt world.

Until trying Aberlour A'bunadh, I had yet to encounter a single malt that left me so puzzled and uncertain. I've enjoyed everything from the most fruity-floral Speysides to the heaviest of Islay peats, but never have I tried one that challenged my taste buds in such a unique way.

I always take my first teeny sip of whisky straight up before deciding on how much (if any) water to add. My first sip of Aberlour was like a flaming caramel -- a sort of syrupy, smoky sweetness combined with the heat of 10 habanero peppers. Very off-putting at first.

I've had four small drams from my bottle (Batch 40), and I may have not yet discovered the proper amount of water to add for my taste. A bit of water brings out more flavor but doesn't tone down the heat, while a 1:1 whisky/water mix removes the heat, but results in a watery, candy-ish taste that I don't like (or perhaps I'm just not that used to) in my whisky.

Still, the near-universal praise heaped on Aberlour suggests that I need to give it more of a chance. A few reviews on this forum imply that it's an acquired-taste whisky, so I plan to revisit it, and perhaps revise my review, several months down the road. My score of 80 is provisional and subject to serious re-evaluation at some point. I didn't score it lower out of respect for the status of A'bunadh in the whisky world.

In short, it's not a whisky for rookies. For me, it's not the strength -- heck, I fell in love with Ardbeg Uigeadail immediately -- it's the combination of fire and sticky sweetness that challenges me for now. But I'm determined to appreciate (if not like) this whisky at some point. I'll return to it when I'm by the fireside on a cold winter night and see what happens then.

@WhiskyBee, yes, there are some Scottish malts that aren't currently distributed in the US, including Glenfarclas 15 and Aberlour 10. If you want them, take a little trip North to Canada to get them. The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) is due North for you. That's where I got my bottles of those whiskies, sometimes held waiting for me by buddies living there, such as @Pudge72. Most of the best Canadian whiskies are also only sold in Canada, so that's where you get those products too. But expect pretty much everything to be quite expensive at the LCBO. You can research the LCBO website to see prices and availability of everything that they sell.

@Wills, indeed, our bottle of Highland Park 18 did start to go off at about 9 months, which is pretty quick for a whisky. It is warmer here in summer than are most places, but I can tell you that I would be certain to finish off any future bottle of HP18 within 8 months. As for your $ 70 Sonnalta PX price, I suppose you have shipping or transportation costs to add to your acquisition price which would raise your actual costs to a more typical level of price for that particular whisky. I like to say this about Sonnalta PX: I've given a lot of broad survey tastings of large numbers of whiskies, usually about 25 at a time, to relatively inexperienced whisky drinkers, and the Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX is typically hands down the single most immediately and universally liked of all the whiskies that they have tasted, from all countries.

@WhiskyBee, I do understand your concern about laying down large amounts for whiskies which you have not sampled. I rarely pay over $ 100 for a bottle I have not sampled either. Sonnalta PX and Balvenie Founders Reserve are getting a bit rare, but there are still some bottles floating around out there. I have buddies in this club who have purchased each of them within the last two months. I feel that I would be remiss also in not mentioning Highland Park 18 yo in this discussion. It has lovely moderate sherry in addition to moderate peat and smoke, and, for my palate, some of the nicest most delicious barley from any distillery. If you buy a bottle, though, be aware that it may not open up to its full flavours until 3-4 months after the bottle is opened. In other words, a bar sample of HP18 might be great and lead you to buy a bottle, but you might have to wait a bit to get the same flavours out of the newly opened bottle. That is another bottle worth the $ 90-120 you will pay for it. But you shouldn't have too much trouble finding a sample of it.

@maltymatt

Bought this bottle about a year ago.I wasnt expected this "whisky bomb".Seriously,i just poured myself a glass and ....wowwww.This is a great one,even better that almost every whisky that ive ever tasted before,yeah sorry but i have to be honest,and don t forget i said "almost every whiskies...

Nose:complex ,sherry,vanilla cake,leather

taste:pepper,toffee,cinnamon,sultana raisins

finish:Sweet,creamy,complex,having the sensation that your drinking something in flames and not burning your tongue

conclusion:this whisky is the drink of god,keep me warm in every cold night!

I have to agree, this is a great whisky. I just had a taste of my Batch 34 tonight and I swear it keeps getting better each tasting. It's been open now for 3 months. I would probably score it a little higher at 94. I like it neat, however I've been adding a teaspoon of water here and there and really like the way it opens up. I will be sad to see it go and can only hope the next batch I get is as good as this one.

I have a bottle of this stashed away, for a time when I don't have a batch to match my age. I tried this many years ago, either opened at home or as a gif for my brother in law

@SquidgyAsh

I've recently received a series of whisky samples from a whisky friend in Queensland. We'd decided months ago that it would be a good way for both of us to try different whiskies that we might not normally pick up without us each having to shell out for bottles that we might not care for.

Our first trade involved several bourbons among other whiskies going from me to him as he'd had some negative experiences with bourbon years ago and wasn't sure what he would think.

His presents to me were very cool though. A Glen Scotia from 1992, (My first Campbeltown), Dalmore 12 yr old (A Highland Single Malt), Suntory Hibbiki 17 yr old (my first Japanese blend), Old Pulteney 12 yr old (another yummy Highland Single Malt), Aberlour Abunadh batch 17 (A cask strength Speyside Single Malt) and a Mystery Malt.

I've since reviewed all of the samples except for the Aberlour Abunadh and the Mystery Malt.

Tonight was Aberlour Abunadh's turn.

Now Aberlour Abunadh is released in batches. Each batch varies a wee bit in quality and the aromas and flavours. These batches range from good to absolutely brilliant.

In my whisky journey I've tried two batches. Those batches were batches 35 and 36. Batch 36 was good. Batch 35 was even better.

So having tried several variations on the Abunadh I was quite eager to try this batch (17) and I've decided to leave the two whiskies I'm most anticipating for the last two tastings.

I've not been feeling so hot lately so I really haven't been drinking so much whisky and I was excited to finally be able to pour myself a new dram.

My wife and I decided to sit down to dinner and watch the movie Contagion on the tellie as I poured the sample into my glencairn.

Alright time to check out this baby!

This is a DARK whisky. I mean DARK! and it has some lovely aromas.

As I nose the glencairn the first thing that I get is sherry, not surprising considering this is Aberlour Abunadh which is matured in sherry casks, but there's more aromas under the sherry if you're patient enough (I spent several hours nosing the Abunadh, who says I don't have willpower?!)

Vanilla, cinnamon and honey are all present in varying degrees. Honey the strongest.

There's something else there, I wanna say it's caramel, but I won't swear by it.

Very lovely nose.

Time for a sip.

BAM!!!

This is a BIG whisky, not in the same league as the Stagg, but big enough that I think it would scare most spirit beginners.

But yummy.

You get the alcohol burn, but right afterwards you get the sherry and then immediately chocolate.

There's fruit in there too.

Ok I'm back, that was quite a few sips there trying to find that fruit.

I'd normally expect to say it was cherries considering the Oloroso sherry casks, but that doesn't feel right. I almost want to say apples are lurking there at the bottom of this whisky, hidden by the layers and layers of dark chocolate.

The finish is LONG and powerful, with an alcohol burn flooding your mouth and sliding down the throat into your belly with the flavors of dark chocolate lasting a good length of time with the apples (pears maybe?) just appearing quickly for a second at the end and then disappearing.

Yummy whisky!

I'm going back in fellows, I need to find this fruit!!

This isn't my favorite Aberlour Abunadh, but I still find this one to be better then batch 36, but not as good as batch 35. The chocolate flavor while nice is somewhat boring and I kept hoping for a little bit more.

This doesn't mean that this is a bad Abunadh, it's a pretty good one. It's just not brilliant.

Nice thing about the Abunadh's is that they're yummy, there's always a new one coming out and I can find it at my local bottle shop for around $100 AUS which is a BLOODY good deal considering the whisky inside the bottle.

If you see an Aberlour Abunadh, get it.

That simple.

Last one up is going to be the Mystery Malt which has me salivating already!

S

If you like fruit cake, chocolate pot, creme brulee, marshmallow, banana mousses, pecan pie, apple strudel, Christmas cake, marzipan, toffee fudge sprinkled with icing sugar. YOU WILL like this gem of a scotch.

The flavors are so intense and layered, making this whiskey a fun experiment where you can add little bit of water each time to see just how the complexity of its flavors unfold. It also has a lovely rum tone to its noise, amazing

I have recently been venturing outside my peat scotch comfort zone, just tried acquired the Glenfarclas 15y, Glendronach 15y revival and the A'bunadh. A'bunadh came out top by a conuntry mile. Dont get me wrong, the other two are just gorgeous, but i loved the FULL BODY A'bunadh just that much more

I just picked up a bottle of the A'bunadh a few days ago (haven't tried it yet)...It's batch #39...There were a few other batches available for purchase; #35, #37, and #40.

It was a spur of the moment purchase; I had intentions of purchasing a bottle of the Highland Park 15 yr, but just recently I fell in love with the Aberlour 16 yr, and when I saw the Aberlour A'bunadh, and the newly released Aberlour 12 yr Un-Chill Filtered - I went with those 2 whisky's instead of the Highland Park 15.

Decisions - decisions.....

Hey @Smokehead, which batch was this?

@SquidgyAsh

Now my wife and I were in a middle of whisky and chocolate pairings when we came to a whisky that had me excited.

That was Aberlour Abunadh.

If there was EVER a whisky that would suit a nice strong chocolate it would be Aberlour Abunadh.

It's actually the whisky that comes to mind for me when I think of chocolates, so I was REALLY looking forward to this pairing.

Now in the past I have tried a batch of Aberlour Abunadh, specifically the batch before this one, batch 35.

The chocolate to be matched with Aberlour was Cherry Ripe. A kind of cherry and coconut filled candy that I personally don't care for, but I was hopeful.

So I start nosing the whisky glass and the first thing that hits my nose is Abunadh's trademark.

Sherry.

But there are also hints of vanilla and cocoa. Sadly those are quickly drowned in the sherry though.

No big surprise though considering that's what Aberlour Abunadh is...a sherry bomb.

And what does a sherry bomb need?

Lots and lots of sherry.

OK so we got the Abunadh nose. What's the flavors?!

Hahaha silly question! It's sherry, cherries, red vine licorice!

But wait my friends, there's more!

Hints of oranges and vanilla are also to be found inside the glass.

As with my first Aberlour Abunadh, which was batch 35, this is a very yummy whisky.

Not as good as batch 35, but still yum!

The finish is long with the cherries coating my entire mouth and jumping up and down on my palate as they go down my throat!

Now to pair it up with the cherry ripe chocolate.

Here goes!

So I take a bite of the cherry ripe and take a sip of the Abunadh.

I chew and taste and am...

left disappointed.

It's at best a meh.

I reverse the order of operations.

I take a sip then take a bite.

Meh.

I look over at my wife to see maybe if it's just me.

She's looking right back at me and looking very disappointed.

The coconut in the chocolate overwhelms most of the flavors other then cherries.

It's just a mass of cherries.

Not much else.

I get the idea of the pairing, but it's just not working.

I decide to try a bite of the mint chocolate and see how it goes with the Aberlour Abunadh.

A much better pairing with the mint being able to stand up on it's own and say hello to the Aberlour as opposed to being drowned out.

It's quite enjoyable with the mint chocolate, but still not the best pairing. I keep thinking that what's needed is a nice rich dark chocolate, maybe Belgian to go with the Aberlour.

My wife tries the Aberlour Abunadh with the mint and says she thinks it's a better pairing, but again not perfect.

Once again the whisky rating is down below, while the whisky and chocolate pairing score is right here.

Aberlour Abunadh and Cherry Ripe: 43/100 Aberlour Abunadh and Mint Chocolate: 65/100

Thank you for including pairing notes with the review itself. My general impression is that batch 35 is considered to be a notch above batch 36. Would people agree with that general assessment? I ask as these are the two batches most commonly available at the LCBO currently.

As I mentioned in a discussion thread, batch 32 is simply awesome! If you are an Abunadh fan, and can actually find a bottle of 32...get it without hesitation...happy hunting to all!

Like I said out of the two batches of Aberlour Abunadh that I tried, both were really good, but batch 35 was just heads and shoulders above the batch 36. I'm supposed to get a chance to try batch 17 soon which has me very eager!!

As for the pairing notes being included....You're welcome!!!

@dannyboy

My second bottle of A'bunadh. Hard to go too long without one in the cabinet... sadly this just finished too :(

Nose: Brown sugar, raisins, prunes. Bread & butter pudding, brandy butter, loads of christmas spice (nutmeg, cinnamon). Leather-bound old books. This must have been some quality oak!

Palate: Thick sherry oak, vanilla spice, sherry fruits filling the mouth. Orange peel, berries, chocolate. Some nutty bitterness. Wave upon wave of spiced complexity.

Finish: Dried tropical fruits (mango, pineapple), dried coconut. Dried berries and oaky spice. Cappuccino.

This was an amazing batch in my opinion. Wonderfully complex.

@dannyboy

Nose: Nutty sherry, brandy-soaked raisins. After water, brown sugar and malt loaf.

Palate: Sherry bomb! Sweet candied fruits (prunes, dates, raisins), pine nuts. Hints of sweet coffee later on. Rich mouthfeel and tons of sherry. After water, some blueberry.

Finish: Lingering sherry and oak. Vanilla and brown sugar.

A true sherry monster! Great drinking at full strength or after a splash of water. Bought this on a random recommendation and was not disappointed!

@SquidgyAsh

Now my wife and I had been trying for months to get to the whisky bar, Helvetica. We'd had all sorts of issues preventing us from going to this bar such as sickness, conflicting work schedules, lack of money, bar being closed when we're free and an emergency appendicitis. Now after all of these problems we were finally here!!

Our date had started with my wife and Glenfarclas 12 yr old at dinner, then Yamazaki 12 yr old, Hakushu 12 yr old, and Glenmorangie Nectar D'or, Amrut Fusion and Glenmorangie Astar.

While drinking the Amrut Fusion we were joined by my sister and brother in law who'd been waiting in another level of the bar since we walked in and who we'd missed.

Next on the menu was Aberlour Abunadh!

Now this was one of the whiskies that I'd really been looking forward to and was now extremely worried about.

Why you might ask?

While I'd been drinking my Glenmorangie Astar my sister in law had ordered a glass of Aberlour Abunadh.

And didn't like it.

Really didn't like it.

Mind you she didn't add any water to it until after I told her to. And I don't think she added nearly enough water to it, adding just a drop or two to try and open it up...

But she pretty much put it aside and wouldn't touch it again.

Please oh god please let this be a good whisky.

I order my Aberlour Abunadh and then specifically ask for the batch number. The waitress blinks at me for a moment then goes to get me my drink. When she hands me my drink she quietly informs me that it's from batch 35.

Batch 35.

My first Abunadh.

Here goes!

I nose this Aberlour and I pray as I am a huge Aberlour fan ever since my first 10 yr old bottle. And Holy Cow!!!

Red vine licorice dominates the nose, cherries, sherry (not surprising this is SUPPOSED to be a sherry bomb!) along with vanilla and oak. I swear I detect a hint of dark chocolate, but no one else says that they can smell that. Maybe I'm crazy.

I start getting wrapped up with the conversation and I take a very small sip unthinking.

Oh Sweet Baby Jebus!!! I can't breath!!!

This small little sip knocks my breath out. BAM!!!!

The cherries and sherry PUNCH me in the mouth and it's Rocky Time! I'm on my 10 count and I don't think I'm coming back up from this one.

HAHAHAHA Everyone laughs as I try to breath. I wind up joining in once it won't make me pass out from lack of oxygen.

I then take my little pitcher of water and add a very generous amount of water, roughly a 2:1 per Abunadh.

The whisky opens up beautifully.

Nose is the same, lovely and beautiful, but not quite the punch in the face.

Flavor though, it's thick enough to chew!! There is a creamy mouth texture and the cherries and sherry once again dominate, but in the mix is dark chocolate coming through beautifully with a hint of vanilla.

Even better is my sister in law looks extremely puzzled and informs us that she likes my Aberlour much better then the one she received.

The glass is passed around the table and everyone comments that this is a STRONG beautiful whisky here. It is no shrinking violet. If you want you whisky soft and subtle. Turn around. You WILL be disappointed.

The finish is LONG with the sherry and cherries hanging on the entire time and just a bit of alcohol bite on the end.

Thank you Aberlour!!

You did not let me down at all.

My first taste of Abunadh is SPECTACULAR!!

Now I wanna catch and taste them all!!

This is an AWESOME whisky that I enjoyed a ton. It's out there and in your face the entire time. This is a whisky I'd be drinking on a cold winters night sitting around the fire with the family.

Even better is that this bottle is available in many aussie liquor stores for roughly $100 AUS or so which makes it fairly affordable. Batch numbers will of course vary.

Next on the menu after MUCH palate cleansing will be one I've been waiting months to try and I've heard nothing but EXCELLENT things about.

Old Potrero 18th Century Rye!!

Oh, yes, Squidgy, our Connosr woods are full of A'bunadh lovers, and I am certainly one of them. There is much to love. And the various batches of A'bunadh are like collector cards, "Collect them all!"

A'bunadh never gets old. I am always impressed that when I do tastings, whisky newcomers usually really love it, much more so than they love some other wine finishes. Usually the people I give it to do not get at all upset by the ABV. And they usually don't wind up adding any water, except sometimes as an experiment to draw out other flavours. I never hesitate to introduce new people to A'bunadh. And I would never hesitate to buy a bottle of whatever new batch of it comes out onto the liquor store shelf.

@System My friend this is why I continually complain so much about whisky prices over here. Pretty much most whiskies that you can get over here you can get over there drastically cheaper. Makes me a sad panda.

@Victor It was such an awesome whisky! I have to be honest I'm really not sure which bottle I hope that my brother purchases for my birthday. I HIGHLY doubt he'll find the Old Potrero, but everything else that he could find is all so yummy and I have no bottles of any of them so it is a tough choice, ahh the difficult decisions I have to live with in my life :D Which awesome whisky do I get?! :D:D:D

@DaveWorthington

My first Aberlour and #30 in my own whisky journey. It's also listed in Ian Buxton's 101.

A'bunadh, Gaelic for 'of the origin' is matured exclusively in Oloroso Sherry butts. It is a natural cask strength malt whisky produced without the use of modern chill-filtering methods or the addition of water.

Aberlour A'Bunadh is released in small batches, and the distillery kindly informs us that the flavours may vary slightly from one bottling to another. Reading Jim Murray's 2012 Bible seems to verify the batch variation, but I can confirm Batch 37, bottled at 59.6% is, in my opinion, stunning. I will be interested to read his thoughts next year though!

I love the bottle shape, the support within the tube that carefully cradles the bottle base and the wax seal to the top. I really didn't want to destroy this wax so carefully cut between the top of the bottle and wooden stopper.

With some anticipation I poured the first two drams, one for me and one for my eldest daughter, well it was her birthday!

The deep rich amber liquid filled our Glencairn's and we gently tilted our glasses, rotating them slowly to see the body of the whisky as the 'legs' crawled down the side of the glass. (does anyone know why Jim Murray does not favour the Glencairn ?)

We carefully nosed the dram, being at cask strength we didn't want to anaesthetise our senses with alcohol burn!

A rich and full nose, spices and oranges, the strong thick cut marmalade my Dad favours, Christmas cake, rich dark chocolate and lots of sherry as expected.

The taste was intense, rich and creamy, I love the feel of it rolling over my tongue, the tingling from the alcohol, yet silky smooth, with the dark chocolate again, ginger and the sherry and oak.

The finish was very long and warming, rich and oily, with spices again. The lasting finish being like a clove oil.

We added some water, and the nose opened up, more oranges and almond came through. Obviously lighter, though still creamy and the almonds turn sweeter with a marzipan taste.

I love the nose of the empty glass as the sherry disappears and the malty oak remains, with even a little smokiness.

I've since gone back to it neat as I prefer the cask strength kick. It is in my opinion, a first class batch and I would like to compare this against other batches.

@A'bunadhman thanks for your comments, I hope you do enjoy it as much as your last batch. I looked last week and batch 38 is in our shops now. However, I decided to embark upon a journey and so am looking for a new whisk(e)y at least once a month, I've always met and often exceeded my target! I've tasted eight new (to me) this year already, and we're only in week 8 - not sure I can keep up this pace, but it sure is an addictive hobby! Please check out my blog where I update each new discovery as they come whisky-discovery.blogspot.com

Excellent review! I've just decanted #37 into one of my large decanters and I'll give it a couple of weeks before getting serious!

If it's as good as the bottle from batch #29 that I found up the Coast, I'll be well pleased.

s

This review is dated from back in November, just transcribing it here. The A'bunadh is a really special dram, most certainly one of my favourites.

Nose: Surprisingly subtle, it opens up after adding some water. Sherry, oranges, spiced toffee.

Taste: Starts off sweet, then the spice comes in. Chocolate and caramel, raisins, fruit cake. Lots of body.

Finish: Long and lovely, but doesn't overpower. A gentle burn.

Conclusion: "Like bottled Christmas" (Lawson, on thewhiskyexchange.com). A cracker of a dram, I'll be looking out for future batches as well, both for comparison and because I expect them to be well worth it.

@mattberg

This is my third bottle of batch 37 in three months and this by far the most consistently excellent. I've bought several bottles over Christmas of other cask strenghth whisky at three times the price of this Abunadh and quite honestly they don't compare...

This batch is sweeter and longer with liquorice and marzipan complexity, cloves and intense cardamon in abundance. I don't know what they put in the water up there but I also have amazing dreams after a dram of this... ha ha..

The Christmas cake aromas that are a signature of this offering seem to have moved on to something more complex, older oak, very old whisky contrasted with the balance of younger fresher ginger and spice... outstanding again..

I'm really pleased you like this batch. Reading Jim Murray's 2012 Bible the batches seem to alternate between ordinary and exceptional. I received a bottle for Christmas too. I haven't opened it yet, but really looking forward to reviewing my bottle soon.

Hi Dave..don't leave it too long to open your bottle... I prefer my Abunadh without water btw.. Have tried it it with varying amounts and straight up works best for me.... Batch 38 will no doubt be out before long

@cclward

This is a review of Batch 21 , As many would agree Aberlour A'bunadh is one of the finest malts on the market. It is rich , powerful , yet delicate. I love sherry barrels.... Hope you agree with my review. Any comments appreciated.

Nose: dark chocolate cherries , rich fruit stored in old wood , Figs , chocolate with a cognac center.. Taste: Rich , mouth-filling , powerful but yet soft and silky , More Chocolate Cherries , but I get nuts and dates with it. Salted cream crackers , dried fruit.. Figs. Finish:Hot Pepper pot , Must be the massive alcohol content , Chewy Cherry Chocolate nugat, turning to dry oak. Overall: As I stated it is Power and Luxury in a glass , rich explosive powerful yet delicate at the same time. This brand overall is a true sherried heavyweight champion.

Power and luxury indeed... Can't be many bottles of batch 21 left in the world... Just reviewed batch 37... Consistently excellent and am yet to find a worthy cask strength competitor at even triple the price

@chrisrbarrett

Smells like ... my eyes hurt. Little bit of sherry (ok, a lot), and a little bit of alcohol, verging on petroleum aromas (about 60 mpg). Minty first kick moving to a very serious alcohol punch. Incredible length and coating.

What batch do you have? Have you tried adding a little water (or a lot, I go about 3 parts whisky to 2 parts water)? Its capacity to take dilution without losing its taste is remarkable.

@Matthieu

Batch #33. Drunk with water, with a whisky to water ratio between 2:1 and 1:1 (closer to 1:1). The trick to know when I've arrived at the right dilution is when I can see the sherry cask when nosing the whisky. This whisky is strong and can easily take the added water without losing its taste.

Nose: Before reaching the aforementioned point, the alcool creates a hazy nose, but the sherry is strong and is easily the dominant smell. When the sherry's dark fruits are balanced with the oak's vanilla, I know I've reached my preferred mixture.

Taste: The arrival is marked by a subdued malt sweetness, that rapidly gives way to the acidic dark fruits. Chocolate is a late comer, hiding behind the sherry. The relation between these tastes varies with the dilution: malt gets stronger and chocolate weaker when the whisky's concentration decreases.

Finish: Wow! Long, warm with acidic fruits and a slight bitterness. It barely diminishes with added water, and stays with you for a long time.

Balance: The sherry cask aging has an extremely strong influence on this whisky, to the point where I would like more whisky in my sherry. It is a very different experience than the other whiskies I own and have reviewed. This uniqueness, and the long finish, are why I give this whisky 92.

Well, that was the last of my initial batch of whiskies. I will probably have more after the holidays, including (I hope) my first rye.

@markjedi1

Aberlour a’bunadh (Gaelic for ‘from the source’) is matured exclusively on Oloroso sherry casks and bottled at cask strenght. No chillfiltering, no tinting. There are quite a few batches out there already and almost all of them are praised. I had batch 24 about two years ago. So why not try a few more. I I thought I’d put a few batches H2H. Or should that be H5H?

  • Batch 0 at 59,6% ABV (the first, unnumbered release from 1997)
  • Batch 8 at 60,2% ABV
  • Batch 14 at 59,5% ABV
  • Batch 19 at 59,9% ABV and
  • Batch 30 at 59,8% ABV.

Is it a coincidence that they get darker too? From amber, via bronze all the way to oloroso.

nose

They are all very sherried with prunes, dades, sultanas, preserved pears, caramel and a wonderful whiff of smoke. And yet they are all different. Allow me to attribute some unique elements to each batch (which proved harder than I thought!):

  • Batch 0 soft sherry and slightly soury apples; with water: caramel
  • Batch 8 red berries and brown sugar; with water: candied sugar
  • Batch 14 roasted nuts and vanilla; with water: caramel custard
  • Batch 19 balsamico and chocolate; with water: herbal
  • Batch 30 red wine and smoked meat; with water: wet stones

palate

  • Batch 0 is the good a’bunadh: very soft on primarily sherry and – I didn’t see this coming – marzipan, not at all hot and very drinkable without diluting. The most approachable of the lot, but probably also the least interesting.
  • Batch 8 is the classic a’bunadh: very creamy and sweet, spicy, classic textbook oloroso, wonderful balance between dark fruit and leather, between sweet and bitter.
  • Batch 14 is the sour a’bunadh: surprisingly sour, like wine vinegar. Fruity, sure, but the sour touch ruins the experience a bit for me. Pity.
  • Batch 19 is the smoky a’bunadh: raisins, coffee, kirsch, coconut, balsamico and loads of chocolate. The smoke is very prominent. The most interesting of the lot.
  • Batch 30 is the extreme a’bunadh: truckload of sherry influence, chocolate and even rosewater. A lot of pepper and ginger. Very much like batch 8, but more extreme. Too much, in fact, which makes this the most challenging and not my cup of tea.

finish

It is hard comparing finishes of different batches during a head-to-head tasting of the same whisky. Suffice it to say I had a bit of an after party at my desk for quite a while. None of the finishes were short of even medium. All of them were long and longer. Phew! Yeah!

Truth is, Aberlour a’bunadh is a classic that should be in everyone’s cabinet, especially if (like me) you like sherrybombs. Today, batch 37 has already hit the shelves. But if you can still get hold of one of the older batches, go for 8 or 19. Those are sublime.

scores

  • Batch 0 85/100
  • Batch 8 87/100
  • Batch 14 82/100
  • Batch 19 89/100
  • Batch 30 86/100

Average 86

I've had the 36 and the 37, they are both fantastic whiskies! Couldn't tell you how they compare to the earlier batches though.

But, for me the taste profile really reminds me of a good rum. Sweet, some coconut and raisins (sultanas). It reminded me of the Rum Cask Finished whiskies that were popping up a while back. It's also a bit spicy. Just like markjedi1 says, I don't cut this one with water either...I found it brought out more of a sulfur taste while muting the sweetness.

Solid stuff here, it is my go-to for recommending to those that like sweet sips.

I just got a bottle of batch#45 and while I haven't tasted any older batches to compare it to... great scott this is good Scotch! Pure sherried sweetness straight out of the cask, yet still complex enough to be an interesting whisky.

Water opens it up and brings out the floral, strawberry notes, but if neat leave it to breathe for 15mins and it is very drinkable for a cask strength.

I've heard that #45 has the edge on the few batches that precede it... but can't comment as this is my first Aberlour.

Was considering hunting down a bottle of the Macallan CS on my next passage through the airport - is that as good..?

@smokeybarrels

First try of the Aberlour A'bunadh and indeed my first ever cask strength-er. Bottle opened and left for fifteen minutes then returned to with the trepidation of a bomb disposal engineer surveying a suspicious package. Was almost tempted to lower a canary into the glass before nosing to gauge the toxicity...

Nose; Neat: Surprisingly nuanced, subtle and delicate- was expecting to have my head blown off at first sniff. Maybe my lack of experience of Cask strength whiskies. Orange peel, marmalade, pre-cooking phase xmas pudding mixture? A teaspoon of water later and sherry and vanilla come through.

Taste; Brandy butter, toffee, oak.

Another teaspoon of water into this measure and the A'bunadh really comes into its own. Aye carumba! Nothing like as aggressive as I expected from the 60% abv. It's smooth, refined and flavoursome, whilst being powerful at the same time. It's also something of a "chameleon"- every time I go back for another taste I get something just a bit different from last time, even if I can't quite pinpoint what that is.

Finish; Long, smooth and robust without being overpowering and unpleasant.

In summary, this is a whisky that really leaves an impression on you, I can't imagine any whisky enthusiast not enjoying giving this one a go. I will definitely be looking to try and get a hold of earlier batches, too. Very, very good.

Great review, and no doubt another great batch of A'bunadh. Many of us can't get enough of this stuff, or sample too many different batches of it. I would describe Aberlour A'bunadh as an exuberant and joyful whisky.

Some of us are more likely to view any whisky sold at UNDER 50% ABV with great caution, if not outright suspicion. The intensity of alcohol greeting varies a lot, and on a subjective basis of what is 'smooth' is not so closely correlated with %ABV as one might suspect. Try some George T. Stagg at 71% ABV. Very smooth, and much smoother and with much less intense subjective alcohol greeting than some whiskies I know at 45%.

@PeatyZealot, A'bunadh is safe to buy, but NOT like other Aberlours. I am always amazed at how many absolute first-time drinkers, who are very scared of their first samples of whisky, love it immediately. Yeah, yeah, yeah, not everyone likes A'bunadh...not everyone likes ANYTHING. If you like sherry in your Scotch, don't mind some cask strength non-dilution, and like complexity, you will probably like most batches of A'bunadh.

Is A'bunadh smoky and peaty? If there is appreciable peat and smoke in there I never notice it. Some of the spiciness is smoke-like without being from smoke. It is very complex as it is, with tonnes of flavour without obvious smoke and peat.

@I_SPEY

The Colour is auburn and The Nose has peat, vanilla, citrus, sherry, dried fruits and a very pretty, deep sweet body and... ash? In The Taste(neat) there's citrus, vanilla, peat and certainly ash(!!); (+3/4 drops of water) the same + smoky and quite salty! The Finish is rather long, very sweet, peaty, fruity and dry, with a nice hint of pepper ;-) My Comments? another very good Aberlour A'bunadh!!

@I_SPEY

The Colour is mahogany and the Nose(neat) has lots of sherry, wood and herbal spices, as well as raisins, dark chocolate and marmalade. With two/three drops of water this liquid becomes richer, especially the chocolate(!) and marmalade. In the Taste(neat) there're lots of sherry, chocolate, marmalade notes and something leatherish? This superbe whisky gets richer with a few drops of water and a Finish, that's rather long. My Comments: much better than (my) batch 22, more volume, more (better?) sherry and a nice balance. Love this dram!

@mattberg

I recently acquired and reviewed a bottle of Batch 34 which I hardly added any water to and found it to be excellent stuff. I have just discovered three bottles of Batch 31 and 30 (batch 35 is now out in the UK) gathering dust in a supermarket and decided to grab em...

The bottle I opened from Batch 31 differs from 34 quite a lot: gentler on the nose, not so overwhelming with oil, alcohol and sherry (unless I am becoming more resistant) but has a gentler mocha, almonds and cherry vanilla scent.

Curiously my first few drams from this were better with water (I always use half caps of Evian) unlike B34 and really opened the whisky: Chocolate-raisins, teak, oak, definitely some older whisky in there, limes, burnt-citrus, floral notes, and burnt-Bourbon. The signature long drying finish is superb and consistent of alcohol at this level being balanced and crafted by experts.

I am going to keep B30 (59.4%) unopened until the end of the year as have noted that the guys on Malt Maniacs have rated B30 very highly.

I haven't tried Ardbeg Uigedail yet but will do so during winter, until then A'bunadh is looking like it going to go unchallenged for my top whisky.

I've had bottles from Batches 30 (halfway through now) 31, 32 and 34... all different... 34 had this odd rubbery/diesel smell on opening but dissipated after a couple of glasses... 30 is better with water... and 32 was by far the best... no water and was better half way through. In fact all the batches are better the last two thirds and if left for a couple of weeks. I've actually been pouring half a bottle into finished bottles so have two half bottles... this works for me... Hard to beat whatever the batch, great stuff and glad that my supermarket has a heap of Batch 32 unsold...

...just read somewhere.... an ancient mystic cloaked in the scarlett gown of a bejewelled Cardinal.....

@Kutter

With my title, I feel like Serge from Whisky Fun. Indeed, I did a similar experience that fits its style. I tasted at the same time with a friend three different batches of A'bunadh (batch 27, 29 and 30). The former had 4-5 drams already out of the bottle, while the two latters where unopened before the tasting. This experiment was very interesting ans since they are all Cask Strength nearing 60%, you need a designated driver.

Nose: the B27 was more opened since it was opened a few months before and you could smell it. It was more complex with toffee in front and oak notes and some cherries in the background. The B29 has a strange nose, like an old dirty storehouse. B30 has a very pleasant nose with a lot of cherries. On the nose they seem all different, but with the same roots, but when you smell one blindly, we could not tell which one it was.

Mouth: B27 respects its nose, toffee, cherries, dryness and some bitterness. B29 was an explosion of pepper and nuts, with some fruity notes. It was very surprising after such an odd nose. It has a richer body than the two others. B30 was in the middle of both... some peppery notes, but not as powerful as the B29 and it has some toffee and cherry too.

Finale: Longest was the B29, followed by B27 and B30. B29 looks like a rock star to me once it will settle a bit in a opened bottle, I think it will be very enjoyable.

Conclusion. Very nice experiment to do. I encourage everybody to do this. It is interesting to see how different those batches are when compared to each other at the same time, but they are also similar enough to being mixed up when blind-tasting one later.

In general, the A'bunadh is very good sherry monster at cask strength that shows a good complexity and powerful notes. Every one should have at least one batch in their cabinet. Just try to have a different batch than your friends !

Nice review. I'm currently working thru a bottle of Batch 30 at the moment. Defiantly get the Cherries, I find a touch of water (a few drops) seems to help with the overall taste to me. When this one is gone the next batch available here is the #35 (in a tube container now) which will be a buy. Its one hellava bargain at the price.

@mattberg

Wow what a surprise this is, beautifully rich colour with honey, raisins, burnt-charcoal, burnt sugar, dried bark, marzipan and vanilla on the nose. First impression is that this is more like a Bourbon than a Scotch Whisky but there you go... Added water to taste, not the subtle arrival that perhaps I expected but a rich syrupy, smoky bourbon explosion with a burnt sherry-sugar and citrus zing, long tingling coating of the tongue with a very long dry and burning aftertaste. A mix of rich burnt maple syrup and charcoal with citrus and dry sherry finish.

Definitely one for Bourbon lovers.

left this for a few days and tasted again... a superbly developing malt: rich sherry notes on the nose with mocha, raisins and honey.... a butterscotch hit on the palate with a dry citrus stage and long tingling afterglow. Outstanding.

@mattberg, yes, A'bunadh is great stuff, and you get the fun of tasting a little something different in each one of the batches, too! It is like having a whole family of different "sherry bombs" to taste and get to know.

@Crys

Batch #28 (First tasting)

The colour is really nice; a brooding dark copper. On the nose you immediately get hit with sherry and dark chocolate/cocoa powder. Binding these major notes together are treacle, leather and maraschino cherries. Very nice indeed.

On the mouth it's all dry sherry and very intense. A real mouth-filling explosion. There's definitely a bite in terms of alcohol, but it's spicy and warming.

As it slides down the throat, you'll be left with a lingering finish of sherry and toffee.

If you've tried the Aberlour 10yo, just imagine an incredibly intense version of it and you have the A'bunadh. It's the easiest way to describe it. They both share the same cocoa/dark chocolate and sherry notes on the nose, but the A'bunadh is richer in every way in terms of smell and palate, plus a little more.

Don't let the 59.7% ABV fool you into thinking you need to be pouring water into your glass to get the most out of the A'Bunadh. This is a cask strength whisky that can be very easily enjoyed neat. Personally I found that adding water actually detracted from the overall enjoyment of this fine dram.

What more can I say, this is an incredibly warming sherry and dark chocolate elixir.

Highly recommended.

@Victor I'm quite partial to Aberlour myself. The 10yo is one that is always replaced as soon as it's finished. It's just excellent value for what you get and always consistent. And it's also a great introduction for newcomers to experience a clear and distinct sherried profile that Aberlour has mastered so well without breaking the bank or being overwhelmed with the potency of cask strength. It's smooth, easy to drink, and flavourful.

I really love the A'bunadh, but on those days where I crave a lighter expression, the Aberlour 10 can fit the bill nicely.

Awesome review @Crys...I could almost taste the whisky while reading your descriptions. It's already on my (very, very) long wishlist! Thank you for the comparison to the 10 y.o. as that is one that I can sample from time-to-time at a local-ish pub.

d

I held off buying a bottle of this because I wasn't sure what I would think of it. I'm usually a big fan of Islay whisky, so I didn't know how I would react to the heavy Sherry taste of the A'bunadh.

I wish I had tried it sooner. This whisky is simply delightful, and the first real challenger to the Ardbeg Uigeadail for the title of my favorite whisky.

The color alone is a sight to behold - deep, rich, and brown. It definitely needs a bit of water (otherwise the 60% alcohol overwhelms everything), but with the right amount is complex, delicious, and lovely.

The nose is sweet with clear sherry notes. The palate is rich and creamy, with strong hints of vanilla and touches of fruit. It is pure delight. The finish has a definite (and hard to define) sherryness to it, and definite leaves with a bite.

After trying quite a few malts, I was about ready to just stick to the Islays. I enjoyed other whisky, but always seemed to like the Islay malts the most. The Abunadh changed my thinking permanently.

@AboutChoice, thanks for the suggestions. I've tried the Macallan 18 and 12, which I liked just fine, but they didn't blow me away. But the higher proof expressions might suit me better. It's good to know that I'm not the only one that enjoys the Aberlour. What's interesting is how overwhelmingly popular the reviews here seem to be - I had thought that some people would be turned on by the intensity of the sherry aging in the same way that some people don't like the peat of some highly regarded Islays, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I'm looking forward now to trying a different batch and seeing just how much that changes the flavor.

I am also a big fan of Islay malts and Uigaedail in particular, but A'Bunadh has been a very special thing since the day I first tasted it. Since then I tried every batch from 27 through to 34 and has never been too concerned about differences as they all seemed great to me. But as I just opened batch 35 today fresh off the shelf I was totally astonished by a completely new smoothness and reachness of this superb malt. It feels as though it reached a much higher level so I wondered if anyone else noticed the difference or it is just me? I will compare 34 and 35 again tomorrow to make sure but would be very interested to see other opinions.

@j0h3ll

My first ever review on my first ever cask strength whisky, so this must be taken with a grain of salt. I also do not consider myself an expert taster anyway... So be warned. Yet, I believe this to be quite an impartial review since I do not find myself usually attracted to huge sherry characters, although i do find them quite enjoyable from time to time.

This review is for batch #33 bottled at 60.5% ABV.

Nose: Obviously a huge sherry impact, although the wine effect is not a tingling and dramatic as on many others. I also detect orange marmalade, subtle honey and a refreshing ziff of citrus. Some water reveals some double-cream toffee and dark chocolate with a more up-front sweetness that is even more inviting. Very pleasant and balanced overall.

Palate: Taken neat, the alcoholic burn is quite predominant, or even a little harsh. I find that the addition of water does make the overall tasting experience more pleasurable, although the impact on the mouth-feel makes you want to "tough it out". Very full bodied. Some initial leather, sherry and spirit notes morph into a gentle sweetness of honey, toffee and raisins that is never cloying, although very forward. Slowly evolves into a gentle citrus tang that evens the sweetness very nicely. Great balance once the alcoholic kick dies out. Absolutely grandiose, textured and potent mouthfeel that sadly suffers from the addition of water... A very meaty and chewable whisky that is surely more multi-layered than my newbie taste-buds might allow me to account for.

Finish: A very warming, dry and glorious glow that goes on for a long, long time. Obviously the alcohol hits very quickly when taken neat, which really adds to the pleasure. An excellent cold-night-by-the-fire whisky. Really one of the best finish I've tasted, and especially for a Speysider.

Overall a very classy and elegant whisky that represents REAL value. I recommend trying it neat first; then slowly add water until the initial alcoholic kick becomes tolerable while not sacrifying too much of that glorious thick and oily mouth feel...

Slainte! -J

Great review, I have a bottle of the Batch 30 waiting for Fathers day for me. For sale currently they have batch 30 and 35 here.

@Victor

This is cask strength "Single cask maturation in Spanish Oloroso Sherry Butts" whisky, whatever that means, exactly. No cask numbering is offered on the bottle or on the tube. This is a review of batch #32. I did this tasting as a side by side comparison with my bottle of batch #26, about which I recently did a review

Nose: moderate to strong intensity, sherry wine, some malt, a little smoke. Nosed side to side with batch #26 (an excellent batch) the only noticeable differences are that the nose of batch #32 is more intense, and showing a little more of the high notes of the sherry

Taste: a little different time order of presentation than the batch #26-- sweet sherry, OAK WOOD, which was almost invisible in #26, walnuts and chestnuts, like # 26, but of lesser influence, moderate smoke, mown grass, and yes, rosewater

Finish: once again for A'bunadh, the sherry lasts long, but I am picking up some remaining wood flavours, together with the underlying smoke and rosewater. I really didn't notice the wood in the taste or finish of batch #26

Balance: This is a great batch of A'bunadh. The flavours work very well together. Batch # 26 is wonderful, and I like this batch # 32 even just a little more. I like some noticeable wood in the mix on the palate and on the finish. I have to say, these batches of A'bunadh are individual enough that I very much think that they merit individual reviews and ratings. I look forward to owning more batches in the future

@Victor

This is cask strength Oloroso Sherry cask matured whisky. This review is of batch # 26.

Nose: moderate intensity, sherry wine, some malt, a little smoke

Taste: walnuts, chestnuts, and sherry, with smoke, mown grass, and rosewater. This is sweet, as you would expect from full sherry cask aging. This is full-flavoured and delicious in the mouth

Finish: sherry flavours remain very long, as does the underlying smoke and the rosewater

Balance: As a lover of enormous flavours in my whiskies I am delighted to find that this A'bunadh does not disappoint in that department. The cult of 'Balance' among malt lovers often means that it is hard to find malts with the enormous flavour statements made by the best bourbon and rye whiskeys. Barley just cannot deliver the intensity of flavours that are delivered by rye and even by wheat. The big flavour, if it is to be there, has to come from somewhere, and it CANNOT come from barley. Sometimes it comes from sherry, sometimes from peat, sometimes from both sherry and peat. It will be a happy day for me when my European friends discover the true joys of the flavours of the grain RYE, which is just as strong in flavour as the heaviest peat or the thickest most chewy sherry, but, for me, at least, the most delicious and complex of the three. This A'bunadh is a great whisky, full blooded and powerful. I very much look forward to trying more batches of it in the future.

Hello Victor, Thank you for your reviews. I am not an experienced Whisky taster, but last week a few friends and I got together for a nice dinner and a whisky tasting. As it happened there were two batches of Aberlour A'bunadh: batch 26 and batch 32. I think almost everyone liked them and rated them highly; but there was a clear split in the group of 12 about the favourite. I for one was in the group siding for batch 26 by quite a margin over batch 32. I thought the taste explosion was remarkable. I preferred that batch 26 in my view has a few more edges to its taste and with it a little more character. I was so impressed, that I searched the internet and managed to find two bottles of batch 26 which I instantly ordered (one to drink and one to keep for tough times). Now I can't wait for them to arrive.

@basmati, thank you for your comments. When I first reviewed batch # 32 I was quite enamored of it, and rated it a point better than batch # 26. I still like it a lot, of course, but with repeated tastings I have more recently leaned back to a slight preference for the batch #26. I agree with you that the flavour edge seems a little sharper here, with batch #26. When I first obtained it, I was delighted to be able to get a bottle of batch #26, because it received one of the very highest ratings Jim Murray gave to batches of Aberlour A'bunadh, at 95/100 pts. This whisky does not disappoint. I a sure that you will be happy to have two bottles of it.

@jwise

Well, I did it. I finally bought a bottle of Aberlour A'Bunadh. This won't be the first time to taste this fine Single Malt Scotch Whisky, but it will be the first time to do so at home, nestled into my couch with my laptop. :) In fact, I did as I thought I would, and purchased TWO bottles, one bottle of Batch 21 and one bottle of Batch 18. This review is from Batch 18.

Batch 18 is bottled at 59.7% ABV. The color in the glass (not just in the bottle), is a dark, burnt copper.

Nose: Full sherry! Wow. That is just like I expected, but maybe even moreso. I am getting the full range of aromas typical of sherried drams: butterscotch, toffee, caramel, berry fruits, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange marmalade, brown sugar, Werther's Original hard candies, etc... Unbelievably delicious!

Palate: Powerful spice up front! Warming in the mouth, just like Macallan Cask Strength. Wonderful candy caramel on the tongue!

Finish: Huh? Pretty short finish. Nice spicy overlays. Warming in the back. I'm not sure why this powerful, cask strength whisky has such a short finish.

I remember some whiskies can actually get a longer finish if you add a few drops of water. The problem is I poured a pretty healthy dram, and I don't want to waste it if I don't like the addition of water.

@Dellnola

Batch number 28

Nose: Sherry, maple syrup, deep fruity notes. Pralines, oh the pralines! I am reminded of the praline parfait at Commander's Palace. Pecan pie! One of the best noses I have experienced.

Palate: Big sherry influence, sweet and spicy cinnamon, ginger snaps, burnt sugar like on top of creme brûlée. A huge whisky.

Finish: There is a distinct woody sweetness which is distinctly A'bunadh. My amateur palate can't really give it a name. The high ABV leaves the mouth tingling, which with the cinnamon notes, feels sort of like chewing Big Red gum. Very pleasant.

The creators of this should be proud.

Another glowing review for the A'bunadh! I also adore batch 28, and will be sad when it's gone.

This batch and number 20 are my favorite ones. You are right, the dark chocolate is definitely there, also the dryness.

@dbk

Reviewed by @dbk

0 1790/100

Perhaps some will think yet another review of the Aberlour A’bunadh is unnecessary, but I find there is something about this dram that commands sufficient respect as to warrant it. So here’s my take on batch No. 28 of Aberlour’s cask strength giant that is the A’bunadh.

The nose is rubbery, and utterly delicious. It delivers creamy apple tart tatin, raisins, butterscotch, and sherry. There are distinct hints of maple syrup and dark roast coffee. I could bathe in this nose.

The palate again trumpets sherry, raisins, and thick, creamy caramel. It is beautifully malty and hot, with a rich, creamy custard character. Raisins dawdle on the tongue. Sweet, aggressive, and generous, the Aberlour A'bunadh is perhaps the best way to keep warm on a cool winter’s eve.

If you're still unsure, listen to Ralfy's pronunciation for a hint: www.youtube.com/watch

It's quite an early review for Ralfy: review #3, back when they were much briefer (though I like his lengthier reviews, with all their great information). Cough mixture from Heaven, indeed!

Nothing wrong with several reviews of the same product. And especially when you consider that the Aberlour A'bunadh is the king of the special bottlings. I've yet to hear of a batch that wasn't excellent.

@galg

Nose: Rich, thick fruits, sultanas, sugar, syrup and dates. Biscuity, Big and sweet.

Palate: Big, thick fruit here as well.Plums,Prunes, Sultanas, Espresso, dark chocolate, buttery biscuit. Wow, it’s just huge on the palate. it’s like an atomic bomb, but sherried.

Finish : Long, with dark chocolate and double espresso.

Bottom line: If you love sherry bombs, this one is just for you. Price is very good (later batches 30,31 are way cheaper) and most batches are very good. It’s a real bomb i love, it has a very respectable place in my bar.

So this was a batch 29?

no. 25. but they didnt have it listed...

@BlueNote

I bought this bottle of batch 21 almost a year ago. Tried it several times (about a third of the bottle) and didn't like it very much. I couldn't get past the massive alcohol bite, even with a good dash of water. I pulled it out again last weekend determined to give it a good try and either get to like it or give it away. As it turns out, the only way it will be leaving this house is empty. I finally got it. Tried it neat and let it roll around in the mouth long enough for that big sherry bomb to explode. Wow! Watered it down a bit and liked it even more.

Goes to show you not to give up on any good malt without giving it plenty of opportunity to shine. I'm not real good at pinpointing flavours and scents, but I get a fairly distinct sour orangey chocolate hit on the back of the tongue, and a long finish with the sherry lingering long after the swallow.

I could smell the sherry residue in the unwashed glass from accross the room the following morning. I'm thinking about picking up a bottle of batch #28, currently available at the local liquor store.

@BlueNote, very glad that you figured out how to appreciate this type of whisky ! Now and then I will drink about a half ounce (15ml) over a half hour period ... just by taking the smallest sip possible, and letting the sherry explode on the tounge; it then self-dilutes with saliva, and slowly and luciously over the minute, filters down, with no burn at all. Any more than that would be almost wasting it :)

The #28 is magnificent ... do go for it. And, if you can, try Macallan Cask Strength as well.

@AboutChoice Oh yeah , Abunadh is a huge whiskey that needs to be taken very slowly and with tiny sips... or else your head will explode ! (j/k) I was amazed of the the heat that the whiskey generated when I first sipped it , but there never was any burn. Amazing stuff.

@Anonymous

After my second nosing and tasting session, this one really left an impression. But I must say, I have trouble understanding this intricate whisky. My batch is a number 26 with the top ABV I believe.

The scents really start to open up after some 5-10 minutes when neat. I haven't diluted 1-to-1 yet, because with 2-to-3 the taste already started to fade, and I certainly don't want to spoil a dram of my bottle's 65 euros worth of fine whisky.

Nose: complex, definite sherry, mocca and (real) caramel/fudge. Also rhum-raisin chocolate, and even cedar wood. After diluting: oranges, fresh grapes and tuttifrutti. All smells in incredible complex and overwhelming intensity.

Taste: immediate warming effect, with sharpness and numbness with too big a sip (due to high ABV-levels). Again, complex taste, adding dark, slight vanilla smokiness (the kind of tabacco for smoking pipe). Soothing, sweet dark maple sirup experience on the tounge.

Finish: long, slowly but gently letting off the pain of swallowing this intense drought. And leaves an impression to last for at least a day, and then wanting to know if your great memory was indeed as beautifully complex. But like the love of your dreams, never immediately giving away its full glory.

@I_SPEY

Nose : Raisins, orange peel, blueberries Taste : Sweet, sherry, lemons, vanilla and white grapes
Finish : Rather long, raisins and ginger!! Comment: Lovely and so complex. One of the best sherried whiskies I've had (and still have)

@scribe A lot if Jim Murray's Whisky Bible is anything to go by. The batches score between 82 - 93 (if I remember correctly).

Batch no.26 seems to be the best recently. The ABV seems to vary dramatically too.

What batch number was this one?

@Pierre

The box and bottle have handwritten labels telling you which batch your bottle comes from and the alcohol level. Mine is batch 28. So I guess unless you've read a review of all the batches it means there's an element of luck. Which is kind of exciting. So would luck favour the brave this time?

Nose: initially Cadbury's Eclaires (a caramel sweet with a chocolate centre for the non-uk members) I could say caramel and chocolate but if you've ever smelled an Eclaire you'd know what I mean, next coffee liqueur followed by some dry spice and a hint of bitchumen.

Palate: Coffee, chocolate, a hint of dark cherry; nothing floral or zesty here this is dark, earthy and grounded. On the nose you got the sense this might be sickly but no worries about that. There's a dryness possibly in part due to the alcohol content (59.7%) but even after the addition of a fair amount of water it still doesn't soften too much. After a while those dry spices come in. And that alchohol takes the vapours back up your nose from the other side!

Finish: is long, good acidity on the sides of the tongue and once the anaesthetic effect of the alcohol wears off a hint of liquorice comes through. I could taste it long after the glass was empty.

This isn't super refined but I mean that in a good way. Its rich and complex but brash and ballsy with it. Do I like it? Hell yeah! From the endearingly stubby wax sealed bottle past the powerful nose and onto the intense flavours and alcohol kick, this is charming, out-spoken and fun. I enjoyed drinking it. Which, I think, is the point.

Good on a cold winter evening but with those chocolate, coffee and spice flavours I could imagine sipping it outside, late, on a balmy summer night.

this Aberlour is a cracking dram. i've tasted bacthes 25,26 and they are also great. interesting to see how it changes over the batches. great value for the money, a stunner! winter time dram. right on the spot!

Slainte

I agree galg, I'll be keeping an eye on up-coming batches

@markjedi1

I've got a batch 24 bottle of this cask strenght, un-chillfiltered dram.

It's dark and sexy to say the least. It looks great and smells even better.

On the earty nose there is Oloroso sherry and raisins and a tad of chocolate. Some prunes, maybe? But a lot of tingling at first! Smell carefully!

The first sip got me reeling. Ouch! On the second sip, I really got to know the dram. What a monster this is! The sherry is very present as is some fruity notes and some peppery malt. But despite the fact that this dram is bottled at 60.2% ABV, it's drinkbable. Well... just about.

When drinking this, the voice of Darth Vader came to mind: 'The Force is strong with you, young one, but you are not a Jedi yet'. That's how I feel after having had this beautiful dram.

The finish is long and warm, leaving you wondering whether or not to have another one or hide the bottle from prying eyes - so you can keep it for those special moments you want to keep this one for.

The a'bunadh range are definitely powerful drams. I know some people who love them but will not drink them without a healthy dash of water to tone down the alcohol hit. I don't mind the alcohol hit, but given the strength of these drams, I can see the temptation.

@jdcook

This is my batch 18 bottle.

The nose is rich and deep, loads of sweet caramel and toffee, with hints of pears, sherry, chocolate, a little spice and a delicate dash of alcohol. With a dash of water the nose opens up, becoming slightly floral, and I get hints of raisins while the alcohol smell dissipates. Genuinely good!

The taste is rich, warm and earthy. I get hit immediately with a spicy, sweet caramel wave which slowly eases revealing a note of alcohol and some hints of toffee as well as dried fruit and nuts. The alcohol taste does disappear with a dash of water, but I personally found that I missed it when it was gone.

The finish is a wave of smoky caramel sweetness, with the chocolate and fruity hints returning. It feels endlessly long and keeps you enjoying for along time. I found that the finish does wane a little with added water.

Initially I preferred the batch 12 (I reviewed that a week or so ago), but over time, mainly because initially the alcohol taste of the batch 18 was a little jarring. The longer it has sat on my shelf, the more I have come around to feeling like I prefer it there, and as a result have ended up enjoying this immensely. That said, when sharing with friends, they tend to split down the middle - some prefer with water, some do not...

@jdcook, @jwise - I'm looking forward to writing this review on Aberlour A'bunadh as well. I'm looking forward as well in writing up a comparison between Aberlour 12yr old double cask and the Aberlour 16yr old double cask. Looking for the sherry influences / persuasions. Afterwards quantify and determine the one that has more sherry influences / persuasions than the other. @jwise - and myself have inquiring minds. I'd be glad to share my results an such with you, if you'd like. This could of bee.n done easier, I guess, via researching the materials of the experts but then, I wouldn't have the fun of tasting an such.

My favourite batches up until now have been the 44 and 33. I have tried about 6 other batches and they have been from good to very good. My least favourite was the 36, then the 38.

When I started drinking whisky I could go through more than one bottle a year so I really stocked up. now I have 3 batches open and one opened over a year and a half ago.

I don't know if I'll be able to continue the opening of one bottle a year. I have a 47 for next year but no 48 (Since I synchronized at age 44 I open on or after the corresponding birthday to the batch), and a 49 and a 50 (held by a "colleague"). I have other unopened bottles from earlier should I run out

If I win the election I will open a 42 to celebrate (not only is 42 the answer to life the universe and everything but it is the 42nd parliament) and bring it with me to Ottawa.

@benellefsen

Nose - Big Sherry, Bigger Sherry, and more Sherry just in case you didn't get the message at first. A touch of Nutmeg and cinnamon creep in at the end.

Palate - A Brown sugar and sherry assault on the senses. This soon gives way though to an extraordinary cornucopia of Christmas cake ingredients. There are raisins, mixed peel, but most interesting (not to mention surprising) is the presence of Brazil-nuts! Amazing.

Finish - Long, Lingering, sherry is definitely here in droves, but there is the lingering tannin given by the Brazil nuts (I'll concede it might be the oak :0)).

We've just taken delivery of Batch 26 of this astonishing series, but Batch 19 has to be a personal favourite for me. Won't be around for ever this one...

I should have made it clearer that this is Batch 19 I was reviewing - apologies...

I've got a glass of Amrut Fusion on my desk now - scored 97 in the Whisky bible - review to follow in a couple of minutes :)

I have a bottle of Batch 25 sitting on my shelf... I admit, I am hoarding it. Aberlour 12 YO Double Cask is one of my all-time favourites, so I imagine the a'bunadh must be even better. Can't decide on a special enough occasion to crack it open, tho... thanks for the review.

@dXIIIr

First experience:

I drank this the first time on a cold winterday. It was outside, and the whisky was as cold as the hipflask it was poured out of. Sublime! I bought a bottle myself only a week thereafter. I must add that I don't know what batch is was the first time, but that first experience with the A'bunadh wasn't repeated with my own bottle.

Maybe I should try cooling the bottle (or a hipflask)? This really takes away the edge of the sharpness, and gives it a syruppy feel...Don't get me wrong, all in all it's a great dram even if it's not cooled. But I would rather cool the whisky than add a drop of water.

My own batch n°25:

The A'bunadh batch n°25 kicks off quite sharp with hints of wood, dried fuits and even sand and chocolate. It kind of reminds me of a Banyuls, which is a sweet red wine and (off course) Oloroso sherry. Once you get used to the sharpness of te alcohol, some sticky, sweet scents of dried fruits take the upper hand covering some hints of tobacco.

When you finally get to tasting, the wood, chocolate and dried fruits will not remain unnoticed even 'though you might get the feeling your tongue is on fire. This full bodied dram's taste will seem to linger on forever...

i also have the batch 25, and as much as Murray says its not the greatest batch,i love that one. wonderful for winter nights, and when u are feeling a bit sick. it's insanely sweet, and oaky. love it.

@jdcook

This is a batch 12 bottle - which is sadly nearly empty.

The smell is earthy mixed with sweet grapes plus I get a hint of smoke. The taste is an explosion of grapes and smoke that leaves my lips dry and wanting more. Hints of malt, caramel and salt. Very powerful.

The finish is a long, slow, sweet, smoky burn in my mouth and throat. Taking sips any sooner than 5 minutes apart feels like I am short-changing myself.

A personal favourite.

Finally finished this bottle off the other night. It had oxidised a bit in the bottle, but that just mellowed the fires down to barely manageable, and left me sad that I'll never see another batch 12 bottle again!

That certainly offers some consolation!

@yossiyitzak

I've often wondered how the carnival side show people were able to do the things they could. E.G. bang a nail into their face, swallow a sword or eat fire. In the case of the A'Bundah I would say that a fire eater would have no problems drinking this stuff.

Before I got forward, let me tell you, this is a positive review! The burn-i-ness is all part of the experience.

I'm not one usually one for an over sherried drop but this one, in the right mood is just top notch. Very sherry-grapey, dried fruits, waxy on the tongue, cinnamon, nutmeg and napalm.

The finish lasts forever-and-ever. Drink this stuff when you're pissed off.

I drank this the first time on a cold winterday. It was outside, and the whisky was as cold as the hipflask it was poured out of. Sublime! I bought a bottle myself only a week thereafter. I must add that I don't know what batch is was the first time, but that first experience with the A'bunadh wasn't repeated with my own bottle. Maybe I should try cooling the bottle (or a hipflask)? This really takes away the edge of the sharpness, and gives it a syruppy feel...Don't get me wrong, all in all it's a great dram even if it's not cooled. But I would rather cool the whisky than add a drop of water.

Last night, really, for no good reason, I was in a pissy mood. I was poking about Connosr and decided to revisit some of my reviews. Upon re-reading this one I remembered that I thought this would be a good dram to have when angry.

I filled the Glencairn and added just a wee bit-o-water and bam! After the 3rd sip I was less angry. Thank you Aberlour A'bunadh!

It is nice to know that one can go to a review on Connosr (even if it is my own review) to get a dram suggestion for the night. Thanks for all you do @Jean-Luc!

Oh yeah, I hadn't realized it at the time but, according to my wife, I would not stop nosing the A'bunadh. She said "you're supposed to drink it, not huff it!" This is some nice stuff to huff, indeed!

Cheers, YY

@WhiskyOClock

I believe the term is sherry monster. Very complex on the nose, both before and after water. This malt really packs a punch with strong alcohol and dry sherry. I personally struggle with taming the alcohol burn with water which makes me feel like I am missing out on a complex finish alluded to on the nose. For those reasons I generally prefer the Glenfarclas 105; however the few times I've managed to balance this dram properly, it is true bliss: complex, intricate, and satisfying.

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