Monday, January 12, 2009

Aberlour A'bunadh from Batch No. 18

A variety of the non-chill filtered Speyside single malt that is bottled at cask strength, which 59.7% acohol. Has a sweet and distinct finish. The first two swallows from the dram bring out the flavor, where you drink your malts neat (without water). The finish on the third and fourth sip are longer. However, I prefer Abunadh with some water.

Waltham's book on Single Malt Scotch categorizes the Aberlour Distillery, as a whole, in his Cluster B. This means that he finds Aberlour to be Medium-bodied, medium-sweet, with nutty, malty, floral, honey, and fruity notes). He also finds Aberlour more sherry like and tastes less peaty. I find a'bunadh to be a bit sweeter and fruitier to the tongue, but plan to compare what is available in Waltham's Cluster A (see page 33). Waltham clusters Abelour with Aberfeldy, Ben Nevis, Benrinnes, Benromach, Blair Athol, Cragganmore, Edradour, Glenfarclas, Glenturret, Knockando, Longmorn, Scapa, and Strathisia.

Malt Maniacs is another reliable online source, which you can click on for more information on Aberlour. The Maniacs have an annual competition each year and the winners of its tasting contests are posted in a variety of useful categories. Most distilleries tend to participate due to the diverse group of educated palates on its panels.

I don't recall much similarity to Glenfarclas, so I ran a taste taste. My 20 year old Glenfarclas is a bit longer and stronger on the finish with more of a sherry finish. The A'bunadh tastes noticeably better with a bit of water. The syrup-like sweet and fruity flavor becomes much more palatable and not as concentrated. Without water, the nose is like defrosting a can of frozen bing cherry juice concentrate. I don't recommend drinking the entire dram neat.

Binny's of Chicago is currently selling Batch 21, but Batch 18 is part of my collection. I have tasted both and there is consistency among the two batches. In the Spring of 2009, the Speyside Festival will feature a side by side tasting of every A'banadh Batch from one to perhaps 22 at that point. This event alone tempts me to fly over the pond, but for my pocket book. Perhaps, some other lifetime.