Well, we promised you reviews of our tasting night at The Birmingham Whisky Club, so here’s the first of six. The Aberlour a’Bunadh comes with a quite interesting story attached to it (or just good marketing, depending on your cynicism), for it is claimed that the whisky came from when workmen in the 1970s discovered a time capsule within the distillery dating from the late nineteenth century. After helping themselves to most of it, it was then taken for sampling, with the a’Bunadh a valiant attempt at recreating it. I suppose only those lucky workmen could tell us how accurate it really is.
The a’Bunadh is also a cask strength whisky between 59-61% ABV. Most whiskies tend to be diluted to around 40-43%, but Aberlour have chosen to keep this exactly how it comes out the cask. Intriguingly, a’Bunadh comes with a batch number, not an age statement. We’re sampling Batch 39 here. Unsurprisingly, Jim Murray has comprehensively reviewed each and every batch. One can dream…
I had heard from many people that the a’Bunadh is a ‘sherry bomb’. They weren’t wrong. It explodes up your nose; a full-bodied thump of fantastic, uncompromising sherry (so strong I wrote it three times on my tasting sheet). It’s not alone, for pecans lurk in the background, as does the sweet, smokey scent of cured bacon (honestly). Quickly, the nose turns to dessert with sherry trifle and crème brûlée closing off a fine opening show.
On the tongue, you guessed it, sherry plays a dominant role, but so does a prevailing smoke which glides through before giving way to a gloriously sweet licorice. Go looking – and a bit left-field – and you’ll find juicy peaches just before you reach a surpisingly dry, smokey finish. If you like sherried whiskies, as I do, then this is the one for you. Thank goodness for inquisitive 70s workmen.
Nose 22 Taste 23 Finish 20 Balance 20
P.S. We’ve also reviewed the Aberlour 10 y.o