I’ve got a new gimmick — collecting cask-strength (barrel proof, if you will) whiskies from around the world. I want to keep at least an outstanding Rye, Bourbon, Scotch and Japanese (which I tapped Nikka Whisky from the Barrel for) on hands at all times so I’m prepared to positively drown guests in fantastic spirits when I can legally have them over. Filling the role of the scotch in this lineup is the Aberlour A’Bunadh, of which I got the 68th batch — and man, what a dram.
While it may lack the acclaim of some of it’s Speyside peers, I’ve always enjoyed it as a relatively affordable single malt. In fact, the Aberlour 10 is one of my oldest reviews, from over seven years ago, and I liked Aberlour then as much as I do now. But the A’Bunadh offers a step up — not only in pronunciation difficulty, price and presumed quality, but in alcohol content too, coming in at a dizzying 61.5% ABV.
As anyone who reads Sublime knows I like a good cask-strength whisky, and the A’Bunadh definitely is a good cask-strength whisky. Here’s what I thought:
Aberlour A’Bunadh Scotch Review
A’Bunadh (which translates from Gaelic to ‘The Original’) is a sherry-casked scotch, and it’s not shy about it. It’s not chill-filtered or coloured with caramel, which makes its rich, reddish-hued amber all the more impressive. In the class, this whisky looks like a heavy weight, leaning thickly against the glass when tilted.
It smells big too — after the fumes subside a bit, you’re hit with fragrant sherry, orange zest, and dried fruit. Beneath that is some wood and malt. There’s a lot going on, but it all works well together. The mouthfeel is what makes A’Bunadh really special, as it feels like swallowing cod liver oil (in the best possible way). It’s THICC and chewy, and stay on your tongue for ages, which helps you to appreciate the intense flavours.
I think normally, people are a little generous throwing the term “spicy” around with booze, but the A’Bunadh is literally spicy. Kicks of black pepper mingle with — not quite a “heat” per se — but the zing that you might associate with ginger. This is all compounded by the strength of the spirit, as the alcohol is even less shy than the sherry, which introduces itself with sweet raison notes. There’s caramel and a touch of breadiness as the alcohol fades, and the finish is sweet, woody and nearly endless.
This is a great, and fairly accessible cask-strength offering and definitely one to look for if you’re building out a collection.