Aberlour A’Bunadh Whisky – A Tribute to a Speyside Legend

One of the best things about whisky, particularly Scotch, is the fact that the region in which it is distilled can have a massive influence on how it tastes. Pick up a dram from Islay for example, and you know your whisky is going to likely be heavy on the peat, have plenty of burn, and a wonderful smokiness to it. For those who like their single malts a little fruiter and sweeter, with less peat, Speyside is the region for you.

Here at Great Drams, we enjoy all whiskies, full stop. When in the mood for something light and fruity however, you can’t go wrong with a Speyside malt, which is precisely what we’re going to be looking at today.

The Aberlour distillery is one of Speyside’s most popular distilleries, with a history dating back centuries. Aberlour whisky has everything you’d expect from a Speyside, and plenty more besides. That’s why, today, we’re looking at Aberlour A’bunadh, and Aberlour A’bunadh Alba – two truly exceptional tipples.

Aberlour Distillery

Before we get to the really good stuff and look at the whisky itself, let’s first take a trip back in time, and learn about the history of Aberlour distillery.

Aberlour distillery is located in Aberlour, Strathspey, in close proximity to the River Spey.

The distillery was founded way back in 1879 by James Fleming. James was a well respected man in the Speyside community, and did a great deal for Aberlour. Not only was he a parish church elder, he was also town provost, county councillor, and chairman of the School Board.

James purchased the distillery and by 1880 he was producing whisky here. The distillery proved very lucrative, and in 1892 he would sell it for a very tidy sum.

Today the distillery operates under Chivas Brothers, and single-malt whisky in a number of ages, along with a cask strength release called A’bunadh, which we’ll be reviewing next.

Aberlour A’bunadh

Finding a good cask strength whisky is relatively simple. Finding an exceptional cask strength however, that’s where the difficulty lies. Despite that however, we feel we’ve found that in Aberlour A’bunadh, and so do countless others.

A’bunadh single malt is a cask strength whisky with no age statement. It is released in batches which have a limited run. Each batch features a unique number of the label however, so each one is different.

Matured in Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks, it takes on a gorgeous golden amber hue, and has a distinctly sweet flavour. Aberlour themselves describe it as ‘sherried & intense’ and we’d have a hard time finding a better description if truth be told.

As it is cask strength, you had better prepare yourself for one heck of a kick, as 61% ABV or so, appears to be the norm.

Non-chill filtered, expect natural brown and amber colours that almost look too good to drink. Almost.

On the nose you immediately get Seville oranges, dates, raisins, sweet sherry, ginger, and malted chocolate.

On the palate, fruitcake notes should shine through straight away, combined with allspice, nutmeg, orange marmalade, sweet oak, black cherries, and a touch of bitter chocolate.

The finish is smooth, yet intense, offering winter spiced notes, candied orange peel, dark chocolate coated raisins, and light oak.

A’Bunadh Alba

Up next, we have Aberlour A’bunadh Alba.

Distilled in homage to James Fleming, the founder of the distillery, this cask strength expression is intense, lengthy, and sweet. It has everything you’d ever want from a Speyside.

Unlike the previous dram we just looked at, this golden, non-chill filtered expression is matured in American Oak casks to give a fruity, oaky, creamy finish that you could drink over and over. As it is a cask strength however, I don’t recommend that you do that, not unless you want to wake up with the hangover to end all hangovers anyways. Incidentally, ‘Alba’ is in reference to the type of American Oak casks used to mature this fantastic whisky, which is Quercus Alba.

On the nose you should get plenty of sweet orchard fruits, with apple being the star of the show right away. Sniff again, and vanilla, cinnamon, and honey should be present. This is not too dissimilar from a fine mead, and that is no bad thing.  

On the palate, sweet vanilla notes are immediately present, combined with stewed apple pie, lemon and lime zest, cinnamon, vanilla custard, and buttery shortbread.

The finish is complex and oily, offering one of the best mouthfeels you could ever want. It’s long and sweet, with notes of sugared almonds, toffee apple, and a suggestion of oak.

If you want to enjoy a selection of rare, award-winning, limited-edition, unique, and delicious Scotch Whiskies, just like the ones listed above, be sure to head on over to our website Greatdrams.com  and take a look at the huge selection of fantastic whisky products that we have available.

Here you’ll find all manner of different whiskies, primarily Scotch, to suit all palates and budgets, that you simply can’t get on the high street.

Whether you’re looking for a smooth and creamy Lowlands whisky, a heavily peated, harsh and smoky dram from Islay, a smooth and fruity Speyside expression, or anything in between, here at Great Drams we’ve got everything you need, and plenty more besides.  

Tags: A’Bunadh AlbaAberlour A’Bunadh WhiskyAberlour DistillerySpeyside Legend
Picture of Greg


My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

You might be interested in

More from the blog

Leave a comment

Login / register