Water of Life - Aberlour A'Bunadh
Speyside’s Aberlour is a much fabled about distillery – one that releases its emissions in idiosyncratic batches, which might vary a tad in terms of quality, yet have the common denominator of having the same copper-ruby appearance derived from its exclusive maturation in Spanish Oloroso sherry butts without any artificial additions and no chill-filtration. Given the aforementioned characteristics, it should not come as a surprise that their flagship expression “A’Bunadh” roughly translates to “of the origin”.
When Aberlour came up in conversation with follow aficionados, the term “sherry monster” was thrown around quite frequently, with some claiming that it coined the blueprint for the genre given its early emergence.
Needless to say that I was quite excited to finally experience the drop. After cutting off the massive trademark wax seal and upon uncorking, what tickled the nostrils was a complex conglomerate of vanilla, apples, nuts, cinnamon, spearmint, barley and oak which rest on a foundation of dominant sherry notes that pervade the aroma on all fronts.
A’Bunadh at cask strength clocks in at over 60% ABV, however, what materializes on the palate with the mouthfeel reminiscent of a good chewy cognac is not at all the spirity burning alcohol heavy assault one might expect. While the alcohol is certainly conducive to the warming effects it unveils, nuances of chocolate, vanilla, oaky malt, honey, white pepper, the sherry cask trademark “furniture polish” flavours, and raisins take turns and make each sip a lip smacking exercise in deliciousness.
What the palate promised, seamlessly transitions to the elongated finish as the drop warms the through, which riffs on the main flavours notes but adds dried fruits, berries, almonds and again heavy sherry highlights to the mix.
Aberlour A’bunadh is an expression that is rustic, earthy and an excellent whisky with sherry notes rather than what in other cases tasted like a high alcohol version of sherry and one that no serious whisky cabinet is complete without.