In 2019 Aberlour A’Bunadh Alba saw the light. It is a first-fill bourbon cask version of its popular sherry counterpart. It shows a different side of Aberlour, one that we’re not very familiar with (except for the glorious 1999 cask #3856 perhaps).
Today we’re trying batch #5 of this American oak expression. Mind that many sherry casks are also made of Quercus Alba, so it is a bit misleading if they actually wanted to indicate first-fill bourbon barrels…
Aberlour A’Bunadh Alba (62,7%, OB 2021, first-fill ex-bourbon barrels, Batch 005)
Nose: quite typical with lots of American oak markers. Vanilla, peaches and honey, with aromatic marzipan and a good deal of banana dessert. Hints of hay. Some nutmeg. Mostly white fruits but a hint of exotic fruits too, like papaya. Overall it’s quite sweet, and less obviously woody or grassy than I anticipated.
Mouth: sweet and creamy again, although the ferocious strength leaves a burning footprint. It does become grassy now, with some ginger, green apple peelings and a woody astringency. Then plenty of lemon zest, as well as nougat, coconut and hints of white pepper. Water makes the peaches and vanilla come out again.
Finish: long and peppery, with hints of mint and sweet lemons. Still zesty and woody.
I had high hopes while nosing: there’s a nice creaminess to it, as well as sweet fruits. However in the mouth it becomes woody and spicy, overpowering the sweet side. Maybe not the benchmark that the sherried A’Bunadh is (or once was), but not a bad dram. Available from The Whisky Exchange or Whiskysite.nl for instance.