Meaning ‘the original’ in Gaelic, A’bunadh is made in homage to Aberlour’s founder, James Fleming. A’bunadh is a whisky hand-made from start to finish with each batch being created to ensure a rich and complex flavour of moist raisin, and homemade fruit cake. It is bottled at cask strength resulting in a robust and deeply intense, Sherried whisky.AberlourClick to explore our complete library of reviews to help you choose your next perfect bottle.
Aberlour A’Bunadh Scotch Whisky
TASTE: Dried Fruits | Sherry Soaked Oak | Dark Chocolate | Strawberry | Spice
FINISH: Long and luscious. The sweetness of the red fruit lingers and is eventually replaced by a bitter sweet chocolate, spice and oak. A little water opens up the whisky and reveals more of the fruitier side of the profile, but at the cost of that rich, chewy mouth feel.
SHARE WITH: Everyone! Seriously, everyone of legal drinking age, with any remote interest in whisk(e)y, needs to try this at least once in their lives. I suppose there could be someone out there, somewhere, who won’t enjoy this, but they’ll never know if they don’t try it. Now if someone has specifically told you that they hate mouthwateringly delicious cask strength Sherry bombs… then I wouldn’t bother sharing with them.
WORTH THE PRICE: The price differences from various retailers in various states / countries are vast. The wine-searcher.com link above lists prices from a low of $62.99 all the way up to $104.98. Here in NE Florida, our local ABC Fine Wine & Spirits has it on the shelves at $113.99! (You’re killin’ me, ABC!) While I would much prefer to spend the suggested retail price of $85 on a bottle, considering today’s ever increasing prices, and the fact that this is a cask strength monster that will leave you weak and limp in a puddle of your own drool, I begrudgingly concede that even at the higher end of the range, it is still worth consideration if this falls in your wheelhouse.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: While this is a rather well known whisky among scotch drinkers, with an almost cult-like following, I haven’t seen it all that often at your average corner bar, but I would suspect that any bar that prides itself on its whisky selection would have it on the menu. Definitely try it if you run across it, but if you already know you enjoy intensely sherried whiskies, just get a bottle… you’re going to want another pour tomorrow anyway.
OVERALL: Maybe you’ve already figured this out, but I’m a huge fan. While I admittedly still have mixed feelings about NAS whiskies, (a topic for another post altogether) this is a fantastic pour. It is not one that I’d reach for as I plop down on the couch after a long stressful day when you just need to unwind. No… this one deserves a little more attention and should be savored after dinner in your pajamas. I mean, it takes me 20 minutes to take the first sip because I have a hard time moving on from the deliciously enticing nose.
The entire Aberlour range is quite nice, from the “entry level” 12 year old Double Cask (matured in a mix of traditional oak ex-bourbon barrels and seasoned sherry butts) right up to the top of the range 18 year old Double Cask, claiming to be the “richest and most indulgent Aberlour expression.” The A’Bunadh falls somewhere between the two extremes, in both cost and profile. For those who enjoy the sherry influence as much as I do, the fact that A’Bunadh is aged exclusively in first-fill Oloroso sherry butts, an oddity in the scotch world, and is non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength, should be reason enough to give this one a try. From the Aberlour website, this process results in “a heavier, creamier single malt than most have ever experienced – memorably flavoursome, with an intense raisin character.”
However, something to keep in mind as you begin your hunt for a bottle of your own is that not all A’Bunadhs are created equally and the “Batch #” is something you at least need to be aware of. Now don’t get me wrong, I have faith that the same amount of love and dedication goes into creating each batch, but due to the simple fact that the batches are released periodically in smaller quantities, some variation between batches is to be expected. This can be a blessing, and a curse. A blessing because, well, it’s always nice to have a little variety and each batch should theoretically taste a little different. But the other side of the coin is that this same variety inevitably leads to some batches tasting “better” than others… theoretically. I put “better” in quotes because as we all know by now, taste is highly subjective, but there does seem to be a general consensus that certain batches stand out as being exceptional, while others are met with far less fanfare. By pure chance, I happened to have selected Batch 49, which seems to be one of the many standouts, but everyone seems to have their own favorite.
If you have tried this before, or already have a bottle at home, I’d love to hear which batch you have and what you thought of it. Or if you’ve had multiple batches, how did they compare and were you able to detect any subtle differences between them? Because of the wide range in regional retail prices, I’d also curious to hear what it costs in your neck of the woods.
Whatever you’re pouring for International Scotch Day, I hope it’s something you really enjoy! And if you didn’t realize today is International Scotch Day, I hope you will exercise your right to #DrinkCurious and give that ole’ bottle of scotch you have on your shelf another go!