Oh Taste & See: Aberlour A'Bunadh Single Malt Scotch

Just in time for Christmas, I bring you a tasting of one of the best Scotches I've ever had. A friend of mine brought a bottle of Aberlour A'Bunadh to a whisky tasting that I hosted a few weeks ago, and it turned out to be everyone's favorite. After having a few more glasses since then I can say it wasn't just a favorite because it came near the end of many whisky samples, it really is a distinctive, rich, and delicious Scotch perfectly suited to give as a gift, or to horde to yourself for enjoying by the fire on a cold winter's night. This Speyside single malt is aged exclusively in ex-Oloroso sherry casks and is bottled without chill filtering at cash strength.

*Note: The bottle I sampled was from Batch #10 and bottled at 59.8% alcohol. Since A'Bunadh is bottled at cask strength, uncut and unfiltered, there may be some variation from batch to batch.

Color: Aberlour A'Bunadh is very dark for a Scotch with a rich mahogany hue with hints of amber.

Nose: The nose on this whisky is wonderfully rich and sweet. It almost seems like a bourbon nose which is surprising since A'Bunadh is aged exclusively in ex-sherry barrels. I think the bourbon character is due to the higher proof and lack of filtering which allows the oak notes to come through at full strength. Along with oak aromas there are notes of vanilla, toasted marshmallows, and after adding some water, crisp fall leaves. A perfect fall camp-out Scotch?

Flavor: The flavor continues where aroma leaves off - it's full, hearty, and very smooth for almost 120 proof. There are sweet honey flavors, along with oak and dark chocolates. With a splash of water tastes of clay, warm earth, and roasted nuts are revealed.

Finish: The finish is super long and warm without being harsh at all. It has notes of a toasty wood fireplace, and more earthy, nutty notes as it opens up.

This is not the easiest whisky to find, but if you see it I encourage you to jump on it. At $50/bottle it's a great deal for a slam dunk of a single malt.