Aberlour a’bunadh is and has been a classic for many years now. The first batches have grown to become legends, while the recent releases always represent good value for money. And yes, the Aberlour a’bunadh has never had an age statement.
Whenever there’s a discussion about whiskies with an age statement versus their counterparts without one, the a’bunadh is consistently used as an excuse as to why NAS is fine. The thing is though, it isn’t. Scotch whisky isn’t exactly very transparent as is, even when distillers want to be as transparent as possible. It’s just that outdated rules prevent some of them from sharing all the details they want. So being even less transparent by releasing a NAS whisky is a problem, I don’t care how good that particular whisky is.
Anyhoo, for now we’ll just accept that the whole NAS thing, and take a closer look at the 53rd batch of Aberlour a’bunadh. That sounds like a lot of batches, but this one was bottled three years ago already. The a’bunadh is currently somewhere in the sixties. As always, this is Oloroso sherry matured and bottled at cask strength.
Aberlour a’bunadh (59,7%, OB, Batch #53)
Nose: Extremely sweet (cotton candy, marzipan), but there’s a slight tartness as well. Also, plenty of cocoa powder, followed by some bung cloth. A hint of charred orange peel and rum-soaked raisins. Taste: Spicy (black and chili pepper), and with a fair amount of new oak as well, yet sweet. Orange juice, chocolate and raisins. Finish: Lingering spices, and finally some sweetness again. Long.
Good? Yes. Decent value for money? Totally. However, this is not for the faint-hearted. Strong-willed and quite aggressive. Even diluting it with water doesn’t completely tame this whisky.