I was happy to get this sample from The Whisky Exchange for two reasons: First, well, I love sherry bombs. Second, I have a warm spot in my heart for Aberlour. Not so much for the regular releases (although the 12 year old Non Chill Filtered is presented at a nice ABV – 48% – and makes for a great tipple), but naturally for the A’bunadh, one of my two go-to sherry cask strength sherry bombs. At any given time, you’re likely to find an open bottle of A’bunadh and its replacement in my cabinet. Second, well, I love sherry bombs.
Yet, as good as it is, the A’bunadh is mostly youngish whisky (though you can definitely detect that there is some aged stock in the A’bunadh), and it’s not every day that you get to taste a first fill single cask from Aberlour that has matured to this age. This whisky is just old enough to have the first hints of those old, dusty sherry notes I so love, and is a bona fide sherry bomb, quite worth trying.
Aberlour 16 Year Old, First Fill Sherry Cask 4738, TWE Exclusive (53.5% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Mahogany, thin and very slow legs.
Nose: Gorgeous sherry nose with cinnamon, cloves and star anise in a compete full of red fruit, strawberries and quince. Sweet sultanas, espresso, leather, and the lightest hint of salt. Dusty books next to an old spice shop yet with these aromas are also some fresh cherries drizzled with dark chocolate. Water sharpens the spice, and pushes the nose slightly toward a sharper dark chocolate, with a dryer chalkiness.
Palate: Thick and syrupy, with those wood spices and dryness coating the tongue, with the old dusty sherry feel on the tongue. A few drops of water liven it up, making the spices pop, and espresso coffee come to life. Wowsers…
Linger: Sweet and dry, with some polish, the linger is long and leaves the fruit hovering right at the edge of your sense of taste, and the lightest hint of spice in the top of the gullet. With the addition of water cherry chocolate is the main flavor coming through a dry linger that lasts forever. In fact, I could still taste the dram over an hour after the glass was empty.
This is a beautiful look into what the A’bunadh would become if allowed to mature to 16 years, producing a very worthy sherry bomb. This is, no doubt, a bottle to be savored, and enjoyed slowly and with water.
The price tag of £100 is, indeed, a little on the high side, but given the rarity of such an offering and just how much of a sherry bomb this is, it’s definitely worth grabbing.
Official sample provided by The Whisky Exchange.