Aberlour a’bunadh (Batch 34) Review

Aberlour a’bunadh (Batch 34)004

59.5% abv

Score:  89.5/100


Fun.  Just found a sample I’d put away of another a’bunadh I had not yet written up. 

What say we cuddle up with a glass of Batch 34 from a few years back and jot down a few tasting notes for posterity?  Here we’re heading back into familiar waters, as long time readers will be well aware.  I’ve covered several of these releases over the years (and tasted many others besides).  With a’bunadh, the fact of the matter is that they’re all very similar, but somehow all very unique.  I’ll continue to cover as many of these releases as I can, knowing that there are some die-hard a’bunadh fans out there. 

First things first…I concede there are better sherried malts on the market.  ‘Specially some of the older ones from the storied old Speyside masters.  However…there are times when only a glass of a’bunadh will do.  Honestly.  I find myself returning to this malt time and again because the youth and bombast are simply unparalleled in terms of delivering an over-the-top fruity sherried experience.  This is a whisky for the days when your taste buds don’t want to be made love to…they just want a good, hard…well…y’know where I’m going with this.

Anyway…Batch 34 is a keeper.  A great progression on a theme.  If I come across any more of it on the shelves, I’ll be sure to clean ’em out.  Not likely to happen though, at this stage of the game.

Nose:  Flawless casks.  Big jammy fruits.  Cherry (my favorite fruit!).  None of the drier notes I’ve found in a few of the more recent batches.  Chocolate cake.  Cinnamon and nutmeg.  Some almond or Amaretto.  Pecan pie.  Toasted marshmallow.  A touch of eucalyptus.  Some Demerara.  A unique touch of smoke (from wood charring?).

Palate:  Oh, wow.  Like biting into a juicy handful of grapes.  Chocolate shavings.  Thick dark jam on hot biscuits.  Great spice and a touch of woodiness.  Some cherry and raspberry notes with just a touch of citric freshness.  Almost a Dr. Pepper or cherry cola familiarity.  Beautiful mix of sweet and tart.   The palate is a little different from the nose, but just as good and just as high scoring.  Great long finish.

Thoughts:  This is one of the better batches of a’bunadh I’ve ever doused my taste buds with.  Great release from a distillery that has successfully managed to walk the NAS tightrope.  As long as the malt maintains a profile and quality of about this level I will continue to buy.  Should also note…this is my Christmas dram.  Anyone coming to visit around the holidays can expect one of these while we listen to Dropkick Murphys’ ‘The Season’s Upon Us’.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

3 thoughts on “Aberlour a’bunadh (Batch 34) Review

  1. David

    Glad you liked it. I brought one of my two to my brother in law in Calgary (before I clued in the pickings were better and cheaper there) a couple of years back. We opened it and enjoyed it (maybe I liked the 33 I had back home a little better).

    But although the 44 was a cracker, I have mixed feelings about the 45, have heard not so great news of the 46, and Ralfy all but panned the 48.

    Since I’m buying ahead for batches to match my age, I wonder if I’ll have to stop doing that….are they getting sloppy?

    1. Skeptic


      You’re not getting younger, so you can’t buy down to match you age… Plus you can’t get good older batches anymore. You missed out young/old man….

      1. David

        You’re right Skeptic, 13 sealed bottles from 10 batches between 27 and 44 is clearly missing out. Can you do better? Not to mention I’ve tried 36, and my brother in law has a 30 waiting to open with me.

        And a 46 and 47 waiting on the next 2 birthdays. Hard to stockpile extras of futures, though. I’m willing to take a chance on one bottle of most batches because a bad one is still a decent dram. But while I got extras of 32, 33, 34, 37, 38, 42 and 44, most were either based on tasting or hear-say.

        In the past I’ve gone through about one and a half bottles per year, so if I buy only one of each batch and don’t open it till that birthday, I can expect to run out of back-stock in 20years. That’s IF I can even get my hands on every batch or if my wife lets me… So I need to rely on reviews to decide if I should spring for an extra one here or there. But given recent quality, and the fact that there are other good options as I explore my other unopened bottles, I may have to re-evaluate…


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