These a’bunadh write-ups are some of the most popular reviews on the site, so while to some it may seem almost like overkill to keep knocking out batch after batch of ’em, we’ll keep doing it as long as people want to read.
It also doesn’t hurt that they’re tasty beverages, and that sitting down for review sessions with these Aberlours is far from ‘homework’.
Each time I settle in to score up a new a’bunadh I generally try to taste at least two or three different batches side by side. It helps the subtleties take on a more pronounced difference, and ensures that the scores are kept in line with one another to a degree. Let’s face it: these are very much just tiny variations on a theme. A point of comparison helps keep the reviews on the up-and-up.
Batch 49 is a little bit of a black sheep from recent versions I’ve tried. Seems to me to be much softer of a dram. Perhaps we’re looking at more refill butts vatted into this one. Not sure. What I can say, however, is that the rather biting acerbic profile that has characterized the past handful of batches I’ve tried seems to have been softened here. To great effect.
Hard to believe we’re already at Batch 49, but so seems to be the case.
Nose: We’re back into the more fruity side of a’bunadh here. The last batch I tried was 47. That had some more savoury notes. Here we have deeper red jams and dusty, dunnage warehouse. More floral notes than normally found in a’bunadh. Maraschino-rich fruitcake (a bit a tasting note cheat, I know, but true nonetheless). Cinnamon and a touch of mint. Well worn leather. A little almond. Baked apple. Dark wine gums.
Palate: Nice delivery here. Sweeter than that B47 I mentioned, and lacking all of the bittering notes. Ooey, gooey fruits sauce or spoonfuls of mixed berry jam. Ever use your teeth to pull off leather gloves? Y’know that leathery flavour that lingers? Yep…that’s what I’m getting at. Baked apple with rich spices. Quite plummy and tangy. Juicy and mouthwatering throughout.
Thoughts: Gotta be honest. This is a’bunadh…but it’s not. The florals are a surprise. As is the relative softness. Especially in contrast with the asskicking abv. More restrained and simple than I’m accustomed to with this malt, but absolutely no less wonderful for it. And no matter what impression you get here, make no mistake. This is big fucking whisky.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt
I was thinking of giving this one a pass…I have too many bottles of of AA in my collection, and I’ve branched out so I don’t go through more than a bottle a year now. It’s pretty much my favourite or close to it, and I can’t remember the last time I reached for it.
I like to open a new batch on my birthday, and the batches have now exceeded my age. So I am “buying ahead”. I have a 46 and 47 waiting, skipped 48 because of bad reviews (and lack of availability), but 49 the prevalent batch now in Ontario. And I have to admit I succumbed to temptation. And after reading your review, I’m glad I did.
I can’t wait to try to get my hands on the 50. I hope it’s an extra special batch. But in any event I have 4.5 years to find a bottle before I can drink it…
Like David, I have enough AA to last a few years, but have also succumbed and bought another bottle. I find it educational (drinking in the name of science, of course, lol) to taste identical whiskies to those being reviewed on the interwebs. Due to batch variation one can’t be certain a bottle is identical to one being reviewed, but with single casks or batched whiskies that isn’t the case.
Anyway, I have a batch of a’bunadh bottled every two years since 2008 and at some point will do a hth of all of them, for scientific purposes, of course!
I think it would be awesome to collaborate on this head to head. I have kept 120cc samples of each of the bottles I opened (32, 34, 36, 38, 44, 45) except 33 (my first, but I have another). Can you imagine the line-up?