Bought – Waitrose, 27th May, 2014
Having had my first taste of A’bunadh last year with Batch 45, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I bought another bottle. This cask strength, single malt was my favourite whisky of 2013. Beautifully sweet, spicy, rich flavour with a long cask strength finish. Looking at the reviews for Batch 47 on ‘Master of Malt’ it looks like the standards have been kept up for this batch. Unfortunately that might not be the case for Batch 48, as reviewed by Ralfy.
Ralfy first reviewed Batch 24, which he gave 91/100, Batch 42, which he scored 89/100. With Batch 48 it tumbles to 84/100. Still a reasonable score for Ralfy but heading towards the low point of Ralfy’s ratings. Much less (below 80/100) and he wont be reviewing it again. His first comment that struck home was when he says the finish is shorter than he’s tasted in any previous batches. That long finish was one of the A’bunadh’s strengths. He then says it’s missing the richness of the fruit, and therefore the spice element. Blimey, what’s left?! Ralfy puts the drop in quality down to a lack of maturation and sub-standard casks.
Obviously, Ralfy admits this is purely his opinion, and his experience has matured over time. What seems only worthy of 84/100 to him might be 95/100 for someone else, either less experienced or not. But I sincerely hope that my beloved A’bunadh isn’t on the slippery slope with regards to ongoing quality. Longer maturation and better casks please Aberlour!
(Update August 2015) – Added the Whiskybase rating. Here are the ratings for batch 47 and the batches before and after, according to Whiskybase members:
85.78/100 – Batch 46
88.17/100 –Batch 47
85.17/100 – Batch 48
Batch 47’s better rating really stands out, which is good to see.