Aberlour have basically doubled the price on one of our malthead staple expressions, the A’bunadh. Naturally, we’re looking for a replacement, and here pops up a new expression, that seems to be winking toward our demographic. It’s 48% ABV, non colored and non chill filtered. Our first thought is “Yay! this replaces the A’bunadh”. We then look at the label and see that “[T]his expression is significantly influenced by the finest quality Oloroso sherry casks”, and grab one doing this:
You then pop the bottle open and pour a dram. Maybe you even pour a dram of the last of your reasonably priced A’bunadh next to this one, to celebrate your decisive win over Pernod. You take a sniff of the Casg Annamh only to find, to your great disappointment and utter chagrin that, lo and behold, it isn’t A’bunadh:
The fact that the Aberlour A’bunadh was not discontinued should have primed you for this. But even if not, had you read the back of the tube, you would have found that the description was both very clear, and very accurate:
It quite clearly says that it was matured in sherry and two types of American oak, presumably first fill and refill ex bourbon casks.
So once we’ve established that we’re not talking about Pernod Ricard making us good on the A’bunadh price hike, but on a different product, we can look at it on its own merits. The ABV and wholesome presentation (no coloration or chill filtration), put it in the ballpark of the 12 Year Old Non Chill Filtered, which I really liked, rather than that of the A’bunadh. And you know what? for a daily dram for the malthead, it’s not bad, not bad at all.
Aberlour Casg Annamh, Batch 001 (48% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Amber, a lot of residue and droplets on the glass.
Nose: Sherry sweetness with dried apricots on the nose, honey and some light oak. Wood spices, but with a lot of black pepper, fresh yellow dates and vanilla.
Palate: Sweet and spicy, with some dark fruit mixed with honey and quite a bit of pepper and nutmeg.
Linger: A lot of pepper, with some residual sweetness. Long pepper around the gullet, with some freshly baked bread. There’s a light sourness there too.
If you’re looking for the A’bunadh killer, this isn’t it. So sherry bombers will be very unhappy. But if you’re looking for a well made whisky putting sherry and bourbon together nicely, and enjoy a spicy palate, this is a nice daily sipper.
This is definitely an expression I’d hold in my cabinet, and is the perfect match with the 12 year old non chill filtered, also at 48%.