Class: Speyside Single Malt Scotch
Reviewer: Blake Cortright
The first time I was introduced to Aberlour A'Bunadh (a Scotch Gaelic word meaning "of the origin"), I was at a bar trying multiple scotches. I was relatively new to whisky tasting at the time, and that night I was also tasting a peated Japanese whisky, GlenDronach 15 year, and Aberlour 12 Year. By the time I got to A'Bunadh, my palate was overwhelmed and all I could discern was the searing heat from this cask strength whisky. Now I finally have a full bottle of this to explore on its own without the palate confusion of other conflicting flavors and aromas!
Though I tend to lean more toward scotches with maritime and smoky profiles such as Talisker, Oban, and Lagavulin, I can't ignore the allure of the fruity sweetness of Speyside malts. I was previously familiar with GlenDronach 12 year and Aberlour 12 year, but A'Bunadh is a completely different animal. This cask strength Speyside is big, bold, and uncompromising. I also must make note of the level of detail which Aberlour includes on this bottle. They seem to take great pride in their traditions and history, and their whisky making skill shows itself in this delicious single malt. For more information on Aberlour's history, check out our review of the 12 year Double Cask.
- Matured exclusively in Spanish Oloroso sherry butts
- Non-chill filtered
- No artificial coloring
- No age statement
- Bottled at cask strength 59.7% ABV
Nose: Milk chocolate and sea salt caramels. Ripe red apples and toasted pecans. Dates and molasses. It's an indulgent and dessert-like aroma.
Palate: Sea salt caramels and rich milk chocolate lead the way, almost melting in your mouth. Mid-palate, the high proof asserts itself, building up to a big conclusion. The sweet fruit character also amplifies as the dram develops.
Finish: The finish is big, bold, warming, and fruity. A swirl of fruit, molasses, and chocolate initially cling to my taste buds before evolving into a delightful taste of toasted pecans, dates, and a little caramel.
Buying Recommendation: Buy it Now!! This is a truly exceptional single malt. While I generally enjoy Aberlour's range of whiskies, this is the best I have had from them. In fact, its one of the best whiskies I currently own, period. Each batch of A'Bunadh has its variances, so if you don't have Batch 53 your experience may be a bit different than mine, but that's part of the fun of whiskies with batch numbers!
The Rating Scale
At WBSE we use a true 100 point scale for scoring to allow whiskeys to further differentiate themselves (as opposed to a letter grade scale where 90% of whiskeys fall between 78-92). This allows you to more easily compare scores between different whiskeys. Here is how the scale breaks down:
1-49: Varying degrees of bad
60-69: Better than average
90+: truly exceptional
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