Last week, we recommended on Glendronach 15 Revival as an option for sherried holiday whisky, but today we’ll turn up the heat a notch or two and we’ll go for a real sherry bomb – Aberlour a’Bunadh.
Aberlour a’Bunadh is a smash hit. There’s no other way to define it, with 53 batches since 1997 and with no signs of letting go of the gas pedal, it’s surely a successful release. It’s one of the wide available NAS whiskies that is still hailed as a good bang for the money, providing a sherry bomb for a reasonable sum of money and in other words – it’s a great value for money whisky.
I have had a few a’Bunadh batches during my whisky journey and they are never the same. Some are more sulphury, some leans toward sweetness and roundness while others leans toward sour berries. Batches are never a like and it’s always fun and pleasure to taste another batch and wonder: is it the best batch so far? Let’s review two batches and see how much variance do we have here.
Aberlour a’Bunadh Batch 46 (60.4%)
Nose: Sharp and stingy at first. There’s some youth showing through with young malt and some new make notes. Not much chocolate and more of fruit sweetness, cinnamon and a bit of sulphur.
Palate: Milk chocolate, light and fresh berries, more sour than sweet, cloves, nutmeg and some disharmony/roughness toward the end.
Finish: Medium length with oak, chocolate and lingering sweet berries and nutmeg.
Aberlour a’Bunadh Batch 47 (60.7%)
Nose: Sherry, a bit of sulphur, pungent, light dried fruits, sultanas, lactic/vanilla, barley and nutmeg. With additional time in glass it’s softer but still a bit stingy and the lactic note is stronger.
Palate: That’s much better, sweet with dried fruit, heavy sweetness of plums and berries, espresso, sherry spices of nutmeg, cloves, dash of cinnamon, sharpness and a bit of sulphur.
Finish: Medium length, spicy, bitter coffee grounds, oak, and lingering mild sweetness.
Thoughts: Both batches are good sherry bombs. Aberlour a’Bunadh swims well with water so don’t be afraid to add some as it will reduce the alcohol stinginess. Batch #46 leans toward the berries and sour side than than the chocolate and sweet side that #47 feature. In addition, I’ve found that sherry bombs benefits from oxidization, getting mellower and exposing more of the sherry impact goodness and generally improves over time, that is, if you have much left after opening a bottle. So go ahead buy one, open it up and enjoy it over the holidays season – it’s a perfect holiday whisky.