As I posted in the "Chat" section Aberlour A'Bunadh is no longer available in Ontario. There are exactly 9 bottles left for sale in the province (all #18s I think) as of this minute and when they're gone, they're gone.
Around a year and a half ago I snagged a bottle of the batch #14, I was interested in getting a cask strength malt and the bottle looked pretty. Since then the #14 has been described as being "legendary". I agree. But I was somewhat skeptical that people were really finding so much difference between batches. I chalked it up to the #14 just being at the right place at the right time. Maybe it sold more thus got more ratings. Well, after finding out that Aberlour A'Bunadh was soon to become extinct (at least here in Ontario) I went on a small mission to grab one last bottle (My #14 was and is down to about 3 fingers). I called and reserved the last bottle in the store and drove for almost an hour to get it. It was waiting for me, a #18.
I opened the 18 this weekend and did a side by side comparison...hoping that the 18 would be just a new full bottle of 14!
It was not. (had I had known I would not have slugged back the 14 so wantonly over the last year!)
Now keep in mind the 14 has been open for over a year and has softened a bit. Nevertheless the 18 just doesn't have quite the same super-concentrated tangy, fruitiness of the 14. It's good, don't get me wrong, but it really is quite different than the 14 (apart from the fact that the 18 is 0.2% higher in alcohol thus requires a drop more water to even the scales). It's a more astringent on the nose, lacks the flavour POW! of the 14. They are both clearly the "same" whisky but they are different shades of the same colour.
I an curious as to how the 18 will change over time...I suspect it will be for the better. It hasn't really had a fair shake yet as when I did the tasting I had already had several other drams (what? it was Friday!). I'll have another go soon.
I the meantime I will savour and protect every last drop of the #14, drinking it only when the time is right. I may even leave a dram or 2 in the bottle so I can always stick my nose in there from time to time and enjoy it unique and powerful bouquet. The day that last drop is poured will be a sad day indeed. But alas, all good things...
Anyone have a 14 the want to sell?