Sunday, November 27, 2011

Whisky review: Aberlour A'bunadh Batch 35

I saw this whisky, which usually retailed for about $60 in Boston, for $45 at Total Wine in the Phoenix area. Not being one to let a hopeful deal pass me by, I picked up a bottle, also thinking it would make a good introductory sherried whisky for some novice friends of mine.

This particular whisky is matured solely in casks that used to hold oloroso sherry, and it's bottled at cask strength with no chill-filtering.

Compare this review to my previous review of the A'bunadh Batch 29.

Aberlour A'bunadh Batch No. 35, 60.3% ABV
Single malt Scotch whisky (Speyside)

Nose: Wood, spices, sugary cake frosting, and citrus fruits (lemon?). Like Batch 29, it singes your nose hairs the first time you sniff it. And the second.

Palate: On the first sip, it tastes like some unaged malt spirit I have (bright fruits, but not in an especially good way). There's a bit of sherry late, but it's completely overridden by that new-make flavor up front. On the second sip, the sherry spice and fruitiness is more apparent.

Finish: Alcohol with a hint of sherry.

Rating (of 100): 74. It might be because it's such a high alcohol content, or it could be very young (or both), but this hardly struck me as a heavily-sherried whisky. I think the Batch 29 was much more sherry-rich.

Adding water definitely helps it, though. I added about 1:3 water to whisky and it brought out more mature fruits in the nose and subdued the new-make character on the palate, preserving a rich fruitiness. My rating for the whisky as-is stands, but I would probably rate it in the mid-80s with water.


After rating this and then reading some other folks' reviews of it, most of us seem to agree that it needs water. Other people are still finding a lot more character to the whisky without water than I am, though. Eh well...I guess that's what makes tasting fun!

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