Aberlour – A’bunadh – Batch 45 | 60.2% abv (120.4 Proof), $65.99/bottle (Bevmo)
Color/Appearance: Dark amber. This is the warm glow that you think about out on a cold night. Sherry and wood have changed this liquid nicely. Can something look cask-strength in the glass? I also rather like the bottle. Squat and stout with the nice wax touch and the informative label with a classic aged look.
Palate: Glowing in the mouth. Here you initially get a warm blast but it is one of body warming goodness that never crosses over into alcohol hardness. A very tight rope to walk and one that makes this cask-strength beauty such a smooth dram. No difference really from the nose here. warm fruit with oak and spice. A sherry bomb with the direct raw taste of the sherry casks infused so completely with the base distillate that they are one. This is one that resonates at such a high level in your mouth, you cannot fathom all its subtle nuances in just one sip. With each new taste a little more is revealed while some of what you knew is now obscured. This particular whisky has no age statement and you can tell that there is quite a bit of young stock here. That is also its charm. I imagine older stock is used to give depth, keeping this cracker of a dram from stepping over the edge. We love this stuff because it skirts that edge so closely.
Finish: A lingering warm chest-filling glow that fades so so slowly. My mouth every so often salivating at small particles that finally are tasted. My chest warmed and full. This is what you want to drink when the St. Bernard rescues you on that remote moutaintop. Really nice cask-strength whisky. Try some of this before moving on to any other whisky and that next dram seems so much easier to taste even if it is also cask strength. Water can help you slow things down in your mouth. With so many flavor combinations possible as you climb down from such a high mountain.
Overall: Well this, of course, is a non-peated whisky and yet it is not that surprising that I am reviewing it. Universally people seem to love this super sherried expression and I was determined to find out why. This batch 45, seems to be a very very nice one. This is such a smooth and powerful spirit that it boggles the senses. 60% never felt so smooth. Sure, I would love to know two things. What would this taste like peated, and what would this be like with a higher percentage of older stock? Not sure, imagine they would probably mess with the pure sherry cask-strength goodness. I am excited to try future batches and find out how those barrels have fared. This is a whisky that I always want people to try since I think its overall deliciousness has broad appeal. Looking for a sherry cask whisky, check. Looking to find out why cask-strength is gaining so much popularity, check. Looking to see a distiller going back to the roots and making a recreation of how things were done in the past, check. No colorant or chill-filtering here. Only oily rich sweet cask-strength juice.