One of the first cask strength whiskies I remember picking up was Abelour A’bunadh. I was in Singapore airport, they had lots of different whiskies to sample however this one caught my eye. I will admit, I knew next to nothing about it at the time…but it was very affordable, I hadn’t tried it before so it joined my journey back to Bombay.
It was opened with a mad group of friends and became a hit. For many, it was also their first introduction to an unabashed sherry bomb. And yes it packs a punch with alcohol ranging from high 50s to low 60s.
Over the years, more than one A’bunadh has made its way in and out of my collection. While it is No Age Statement (NAS) blended from barrels between 5 to 25 years, you can tell immediately by the batch number what year the whisky was bottled. And there are slight variations between batches though the overall rich robust berry sherry element remains the core profile you can count on.
Most A’bunadh’s I’ve had were from the 20s… however a few from the 30s too. Then we started our whisky tasting group and a whole new world of whiskies opened up! And Abelour’s A’bunadh was no longer a priority when passing through Singapore. However as it remains an affordable dram, I did pick up a bottle or two a few years ago. Which meant that I had both a Batch No 35 (bottled 2011) and Batch 40 (bottled 2012) kicking around in my cupboard.
For Diwali, Batch No 35 joined the Whisky Ladies Cask Strength evening – which was greeted by enthusiastic delight from one friend who remembered well our earlier A’bunadh evenings. Her infectious appreciation lead in no small part to the bottle being well dipped into that night!
So when I was in the mood for something ‘Christmasy’ while we still had our tree up, revisiting the A’bunadh seemed about right. Overall, my findings were in complete agreement with our Whisky Ladies with only a few additional elements here and there.
Abelour A’bunadh Batch No 35 (NAS / 2011) 60.3%
- Colour – A deep dark burgundy with ruby highlights
- Nose – Figs, rum soaked plum cake, lots of cinnamon and cloves, gingerbread, pronounced prunes, black cherries, Christmas cake, classic sherry-bomb
- Taste – Oh baby! That rummy yummy rich plummy Christmas cake, a drizzle of caramel, warm and smooth, apply cider, raisins, prunes, robust and bursting with character, a little ginger, creamy and very berry Christmassy
- Finish – Think curling up by a cosy warm fireplace… replete with roasting chestnuts, cinnamon
- Water – This one works straight yet also does a happy dance with drops or a dollop!
Absolutely perfect for a chilly evening (ok that means 22’c in these parts!), with a kitten curled up purring beside me, watching the Christmas lights dance in our tree.
And just in case you were curious, here’s what the folks over at Abelour had to say about A’bunadh:
- Nose: Terrific aromas of allspice, praline and spiced orange, in harmony with deep notes of Oloroso Sherry.
- Palate: Orange, black cherries, dried fruit and ginger, spiked with dark bitter chocolate and enriched with lingering Sherry and oak. Superlatively full bodied and creamy.
- Finish: Robust and long lasting, with bittersweet notes of exotic spices, dark chocolate and oak.
In short absolutely hits the spot for a Christmas sherry bomb dram!
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