Spirit Type: Single Malt
Bottle size: 70cl
You'll think you've traveled back in time to a Scottish fairyland as you approach the small stone house in front of the small Aberlour distillery, despite the fact that it smells of fermenting grain and distilled alcohol. The little, rocky creek next to the distillery still has salmon in it, and there are mossy wooden columns packed with dark, jagged basalt pebbles called "whinstone" that are used to filter wastewater from the distillery naturally before returning it to the stream. If you take the tour, you'll get to view the glistening copper pot stills that produce scotch whisky and have sharply angled almost flat swan-necked columns.
You'll find two enormous casks filled with whisky that you may "tap" yourself (for a fee) when you get to the tasting area and gift shop: one is filled with whisky aged 12 years in former bourbon barrels, the other with whiskey aged 12 years in former sherry barrels.
Apart from The Macallan, here is where Aberlour stands out from the majority of other distilleries in the Speyside region: Aberlour gives forth a variety of experiences, including the all-sherry-influenced A'Bunadh, whereas other distilleries in the area concentrate on the milder caramel notes that ex-bourbon casks impart, allowing the harper notes of the whisky to show through. Despite the lack of an age declaration, the majority of the whisky in the bottle is aged between five and twenty-five years, and the extra-aged components are noticeable in the deep, rich flavor.
Like all of Aberlour's single malts, A'Bunadh is non-chill filtered, which means that all of the fuels and oils may become visible as a "clouding" agent or droplets if left to stand for a long time or put in the freezer (don't do that). You still get all of the flavor, complexity, and "chewiness" that come with the traditional approach, though.
While some people worry that so-called NAS (non-age-statement) whiskies allow distilleries to conceal what's happening in the bottle, Aberlour clearly wants to display its skills without the constraints that age claims can bring to the bottle.
The high proof (about 61.2% ABV) only becomes noticeable on the nose after the first or second pass, with alcohol heat dominating the initial impression.
The fragrances of caramelized sugar, caramel, hazelnut, and warm baking spices begin to emerge once you get over it, though.
The greater proof is tasted. However, it isn't overpowering. Orange, baking spices, and a tinge of crispy raisins can all be tasted up front. It has a chewy, greasy, and robust mid-palate. Allspice, nutmeg, and dark chocolate are the main flavors on the back of the palate.
With flavors of chocolate, citrus, spice, and just a hint of wet tobacco, the beverage has a satisfyingly long aftertaste.