As much as a’bunadh has changed over the years (and not necessarily for the better), I can’t find it in myself to walk away from it. The whisky is still bold and singular. It’s still ticking all the boxes of proper whisky presentation (excepting our beloved age statement). And it’s still priced fairly.
Wait…nope. Forget that last. Canucks have been complaining about being taken to the cleaners for a bottle of this stuff for a couple of years now (an increase from $70 to $130?! C’mon!), but it seems we’re about to have some compatriots in our struggles. This feisty young NAS malt has jumped from the sub £50 mark to £80 in the overseas markets as well now! What.The.Actual.Fuck.
Not only are we subjected to a sherry “seasoned” casks nowadays in lieu of proper sherry butts, but we’re expected to pay almost double for this inferior degree of barrel influence? The industry has long told us about how expensive butts are (about ten times the price of bourbon barrels is the going narrative) as a justification for the price of sherried malts. So, what’s the rationale now, big biz? Hmmmm.
Anyway. Decent malt, this, if now more on the savoury side of the sherry spectrum than the jammy, fruit-driven side. I’ll drink it, but I won’t buy it anymore.
N: This malt seems to get more spicy and savoury, and less fruity every time I try it. Huge notes of mince pie and rum-sodden Christmas cake replete with marzipan topping. A little bit of cask char. Some in-the-shell peanuts. Just a hint of stewed tomato. Some dry grain.
P: Oh yes. Great arrival. Deep spice and very jammy here (in spite of the lack of similar characteristics on the nose). Viscous and almost syrup-thick. Mixed berry filling in chocolate cake. Orange jam. Almost hints of rye spice. A lingering flavour of balloons (odd, I know). Heavy sherry all the way through. Quite decent, if not the best batch.
T: Better palate than nose.
– Image & words: Curt
The A’buandh batches are fun and I wish more distilleries would do these CS bottlings in batches. I think they are all pretty solid, although some batches definitely stand out more than others. Recently, batch 58 was a gem of spices and sherried fruit goodness. On the other hand, batch 59 I found to be very juiced up and lacking complexity. Luck of the draw, but thankfully the LCBO has been slow to adjust the price and it’s still $100 here, one of the few bargains in our locale.
I tend not to drink batches greater than my age but I made an exception for the 58 when I was visiting a friend because I will never get to try it when I’m 58. Currently nursing a 49 and have a 50 for the big half century.
I was hoping to find a 60 as my next A’Bunadh purchase but I may not see it. But since I have expanded my palate I have enough A’Bunadh to last the rest of my life without buying any more.
Curt, did you purchase this bottle? You note that you’ll drink it but not buy it but you didn’t mention the source of the whisky you reviewed, which you normally do if it’s not yours.
I credit when someone has passed me a sample. But if it’s just something shared from open bottles…I don’t feel that’s necessary. This was from an open bottle that didn’t belong to me, but was not a ‘donated’ sample.
Just checked and this is still $99 in Manitoba. I swear it had gone up in price higher than that some time ago, I think the last batch I bought was 49.
The 16 y/o is just $90 as well. I’m more inclined to buy this one.
The 16yo is nice, but the accountant strength abv means that it disappears much quicker from my cabinet than an A’bunadh.
Yeah, getting accustomed to cask strength isn’t always helpful from a particular perspective.
I have favoured high ABV for a long time, but recently my palate has matured enough that I can enjoy the likes of Benromach 10 and Macallan 12 Sherry Oak, both at 43%. Also JW Green.
And many Canadians punch above their weight at 40-45%.
I think most Canadians (the people) weigh above their punch.
Then again, many Americans just aren’t great thinkers.
They voted for Trump (well, almost half did)
Most people just vote based on “team.” The exact same candidate running under a different party would get votes from an entirely different portion of the electorate.
But… no different from whisky.
Take whatever rot-gut or premium juice, market it as Macallan and it will sell out. Ad a stripper’s name to it and double the price.