...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 7 versus Aberlour A'bunadh batch 60

Oh, sherry.

Oh, Sherrie. Un low. Hoes ah. Hoes ah. 


What the hell is Steve Perry singing about? And why can't he enunciate?

Too much Sherrie sherry, perhaps?

Speaking of too much sherry:

Glendronach Cask Strength batch 7 VERSUS Aberlour A'bunadh batch 60

Glendronach Cask Strength, batch 7
Distillery: Glendronach
Ownership: Brown-Forman (ugh)
Region: Eastern Highlands (on the edge of Speyside)
Age: minimum
Maturation: a mix of Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks
Alcohol by Volume: 57.9%
Batch: 7
Bottled: 2018


Aberlour A'bunadh, batch 60
Distillery: Aberlour
Ownership: Pernod Ricard
Region: Speyside (Banffshire)
Age: minimum 3 years
Maturation: Oloroso butts
Alcohol by Volume: 60.3%
Batch: 60
Bottled: 2017

It's about time for this blog to hold a Taste Off between these two sherry-sopped titanic tots. And don't tell anyone, but these two batches are sort of recent. Shhhhhh.

The prices for these two are usually similar. Neither has an age statement, of course. The A'bunadh always has a very high ABV and comes from Oloroso butts. Meanwhile the Glendronach CS batches come from a mix of Oloroso and PX casks. The previous six batches all were around 55%abv, while this one is almost 58%.

With Glendronach's new ownership and this batch's high ABV, I don't know what to expect. So far I've preferred the Glendronach CSes over the A'bunadhs I've tried. I always want to love A'bunadh, but you can't force love.

Where does my heart beat now?


GlenDronach Cask Strength, batch 7
Nose - Cherries and a lot of alcohol. Gradually notes of flowers, orange oil and Twizzlers sneak out. Then there's citrus, berry compote and cracked peppercorns, along with hints of soil and grape jam.
Palate - Much less heat here than on the nose. It's fruity and sweet: honey, limes, red plums and brown sugar. A little bit of raw nut bitterness. Silky texture throughout.
Finish - It's sweet and fruity: berries and limes. Some fresh ginger and a touch of bitterness balance it out.

Aberlour A'bunadh, batch 60
Nose - Lemon sorbet, rosemary and pine sap start things out, followed by molasses, dark chocolate and freshly split lumber. After 20+ minutes in the glass the whisky releases notes of flowers, berries and almond butter.
Palate - Tart, warm and slightly bitter. Specifically bitter oak. Pine sap, lemons, dried currants and dried apricots make up most of the body. Gets saltier and more gingery with time.
Finish - Long, bitter, hot, almost numbing. Lemons, salt and mildly sweet sherry.


GlenDronach Cask Strength, batch 7
Nose - It's lighter now (obvs!). Fruity candy, chocolate, plums and black raisins. A hint of leather.
Palate - Still a sweetie. Honey, oranges, vanilla pudding, brown sugar and salty hard toffee.
Finish - Cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla and cloves.

Aberlour A'bunadh, batch 60
Nose - Though this is the sherriest moment of the tasting, there's still plenty of vanilla, pine, ginger and lemon to go around.
Palate - Milder and more pleasant than when neat. Still some bitter oak, though. Tangy citrus, baking spices, peaches and vanilla.
Finish - Oak, fresh stone fruit, black pepper, vanilla and a floral hint.

Glendronach wins hands down. So if that's what you're looking for, there it is.

The A'bunadh was different than any other batch I've tried. Exposed beams, if you will. Lots of aggressive American oak. The spirit's fruit, the sherry and the wood never come together. Much like politics, everyone sits in his corner refusing to move. The elements cooperate better with dilution.

Batch 7 may be the simplest of Glendronach's cask strength series, but it's plum delicious. It's also one of the rare whiskies with a better palate than nose. It's moreish, an adjective I used to type weekly but haven't used in years. It's friendlier when diluted, but I like it best neat.

I'm not motivated to try another batch of A'Bunadh any time soon. Perhaps I'll check back in a couple years. Glendronach, though? Looking forward to batch 8.

Glendronach Cask Strength, batch 7
Rating - 87

Aberlour A'bunadh, batch 60
Rating - 81 (with water only)