Saturday, August 28, 2010

Whisky review: Aberlour A'bunadh, Batch No. 29

"A'bunadh" is Gaelic for "the origin," referring to the way in which this whisky is supposed to represent a bygone style. The story is that workers at the Aberlour distillery found a very old bottle of Aberlour whisky in the walls of a building they were renovating and they wanted to recreate the style of that whisky. A'bunadh is the distillery's attempt to do so.

My wife and I toured Aberlour in June of 2010 when we took our grand tour of Speyside. It was our favorite distillery tour of the five we took - it turned out that our tour guide, Chris Brousseau, had gone to whisky school at Bruichladdich with another friend of mine, Joe Howell from Federal Wine and Spirits in Boston. Well, Chris and I were buddies from the start. I found out that he had moved to Scotland from Canada with his wife in order to pursue his love of Scotch whisky. Sláinte to that! He also had a great sense of humor and a wealth of interesting knowledge about Aberlour and Scotch whisky in general.

I even got to do a personalized bottling of a 15-year cask strength sherried Aberlour (for a price). Haven't cracked it yet and not sure I ever will.

Ok, down to the tasting. The A'bunadh is matured exclusively in sherry casks, unlike the Aberlour 12 and 16, which are "double cask" matured in both bourbon and sherry casks. A'bunadh is also cask strength and not chillfiltered, giving it quite the kick.

Aberlour A'bunadh Batch No. 29, 59.9% ABV
Single malt Scotch whisky (Speyside)

Appearance: Reddish-brown

Nose: Silky-soft after getting past the nose-hair-scorching alcohol content. Cashews, plums. Sweet leather. Maybe some pipe tobacco. I think I can taste it without even putting it in my mouth. Quite the thick nose.

Palate: A lot of bright, ripe fruit and spices - citrus, blackberries, cinnamon sticks. Rum. The high alcohol content makes it prickly.

Finish: Cherry cough syrup-ish. Not especially long or complex.

Rating (of 100): 84. Great nose, palate is good, but the finish is too sweet and one-dimensional for my likes.

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