Aberlour a’bunadh is consistently listed in whisky lovers’ ‘top ten’ lists (which are more often that not comprised of twenty or thirty whiskies), so it’s not surprising I get a lot of requests to review more of the batch releases of this expression.
The simple fact of the matter is that this is damn good whisky, and fairly consistent in terms of quality, if not exact flavour profile. Batch variation is substantial with this dram, and if I’m to be dead honest, that’s a good thing. Keeps it interesting and shows that there is still some blender’s art happening here, and that these aren’t simply being batched to recipe-like homogeneity. There’s something intrinsically pure about these releases that wins me over.
As a rule with a’bunadh, one can expect a thick and monolithic sherry monster, redolent in spices, dried fruits and sweetness. Usually some leather and tobacco as well. I’ll try to continue knocking out a few more batches here on the site with a bit more regularity in order to show the nuances between releases. To date…Batch 28 holds a spot in my heart as a favorite. That was the only release I squirrelled away a couple extra of. This is a whisky that I simply can’t imagine anyone not appreciating. More faithful than ol’ Trigger, this is one of my sidekicks.
Batch 36 here, while not my favorite a’bunadh, is still certainly a great dram and better than almost anything in its price range.
By the way…I do take exception to the ignorance on the label (which you can see in the picture above), referring to ‘single cask’. These batches are in no way ‘single cask’. Oh well. Nitpicking now.
Nose: Rummy raisin and chocolate. Jam covered straw and hay. Cinnamon raisin toast and bread dough. Dried fruits, of course, but also some macerated berry notes…with pepper. Creamy sherry and a touch of eucalyptus. Light florals too. Nice clean casks. Nary a bad butt to be found in this vatting.
Palate: Thick and syrupy. Cough syrup too. Nice fruit notes of plum, blackberry and…dunno…something bold and jammy. Fudge with black cherry in it. A little bit of pear or apple skin. Huge mouthfeel. Thick and chewy as hell. Awesome, awesome mouthful of whisky.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt
Batch 36. Released in 2011. No chance of buying one these days.
Thankfully, when I first tasted this elixir in 2011 in the form of batch 33, I snapped up a 35, 36, and later others (37s, 38s….till the current 45), and judging by this review I will not be sorry when I get around to opening it.
This is only the second time since 2011 that I don’t have a bottle of this potion open. I need a reason and company and sadly I’ve been pretty busy. But I expect to partake soon, and now the 36 is on the short list.
Thanks for the review!
funny I wrote that in November. In December I came across 2 bottles, got one for me and one for my brother in law.
So I’m surprised by the “clean cask” statement. I definitely picked up a lot of sulphury notes on the nose. It dissipates a little with water but I think it detracts from the dram to some extent.
Still good. Better than the 38 and maybe the 34 that I’ve tried, but not my favourite batch. if I could trade it for the 44 I saw in a store (but didn’t buy because I bought this), I would. Hmm, maybe I’ll drop a note to my brother in law…
Odd. I get absolutely no sulphur notes at all on this. You’re right though…not the best of the batches, but still a gooder.
Wow, did you go back and sniff ? That’s very kind. Maybe that means it dissipates with time. We can only hope.
Odd. I didn’t notice much (if any) sulphur in my 36, either. Found 39 better by a bit, but not all that different. Now that I think of it, 39 was a while ago. I should pick up a new batch to see what’s changed, and what hasn’t.
So I see Wikipedia lists batch 47 as coming out. Anyone tried it?
I also hear poor reviews about 46. Is this the beginning of the end? Has A’Bunadh jumped the shark?
There are a handful of reviews on Batch 46 (about 5 in total), and they’re mixed. I’ve got a review on it coming out sometime in February (I schedule my reviews on a bi-weekly frequency), and I like it. I tried it against batch 39, and it’s different, but not awful, like some reviews are saying. It’s less sherry and more chocolate / molasses, etc. It’s tricky, and needs a bit of a water (but not too much), though.
To each their own, but I don’t think the a’Bunadhs are dying, especially given the rave reviews for Batch 45.
Came back to this today. Sulfur notes are definitely gone. It’s a lot better than it used to be.
I ended up trading in my second bottle for a 46. No regrets. This is not a classic batch and this way I get to try something new…when I’m 46.