Sunday, May 4, 2008

Aberlour Abunadh – Review

I picked up a bottle of Aberlour Abunadh along with a small box of Cohibas in the duty-free shop at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. I had flown there to help out my company at a convention, and I was happy to be on my way back home with my hooch and my stogies as a memento. This should make for an interesting attraction at poker night.
When I sat down in my 22C, the aroma of an infrequently showered and frequently cologned French couple in 22D and E struck me hard. The thought of eight hours stuck in this state was starting to make me think I had displeased the airplane Gods somehow. Then a friendly flight attendant pointed out an empty row in the back. Things were looking up.
After takeoff, the drink carts came out. A scotch would be great right now, but would the standard Chivas really hit the spot? I looked at the bottle of Aberlour on the seat next to me and open the cork with a big POP just as the flight attendant walked by. Now BYOB alcoholic beverages are often frowned upon on board most flights, but she seemingly didn’t take notice. When the drink cart rolled down the isle, I simply asked for a bottle of water with a cup. Things were still looking up.
I poured. I sniffed deeply and quickly realized… I shouldn’t have done that. The whiff stole my breath for a moment. I took a small sip and the fruity, coca cola, cough medicine taste hit the tip of my tongue, while at the same time made my lips numb. It was then that I realized the true meaning of “cask strength”. The Aberlour Abunadh is about 60% pure alcohol and is really meant to be drunk with a splash. My bad, but I wouldn’t have changed my game plan, even if I knew.
As we hit 30,000 feet, a splash of water formed a beautiful cloudy concoction that slowly began to fade the memory of my very, very tiny hotel room and the French couple a few rows ahead. The sensations that replaced it were sherry and oak, almost cognac-like flavors rather than a smoky scotch. I had eight hours to sip and relax and enjoy the Aberlour, mixing it with varying amounts of water. No matter what quantity of water I added, the scotch stood up and made the flight home a pleasure.
There was plenty left when I brought the scotch to poker night, and I made sure I didn’t tell them about the cask-strength. (After all, what are friends for?) Some coughed, and some worried about the enamel on their teeth, but all of them reveled in the experience of the Aberlour Abunadh after they added the splash. There is still one friend who says he prefers it straight up.
Aberlour Abunadh is beginning to appear in liquor stores and online, where apparently it had only been available in duty free shops. If you’re into a great scotch experience without a lot of smoke, this unique scotch whisky is worth a sip.

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