Top 20 Whiskies of 2019

#5 • Aberlour A’bunadh Alba Cask Strength (Batch 001)

  • Rank: 5
  • Year: 2019
  • Score: 93
  • Price: $90
  • ABV: 57.1%
  • Style: Single Malt
  • Place of Origin: Scotland (Speyside)

The yin to Aberlour A’bunadh’s yang, this cask-strength single malt is matured entirely in bourbon casks rather than sherry. The result is a bracingly pure whisky with deceptive simplicity; its flavors are clean and its structure precise, but it’s far from boring. The nose recalls black-and-white cookies, vanilla-frosted yellow cake, and shortbread with caramel topping, along with honeysuckle, jasmine, and coconut cream. Mouth-coating and full, it has flavors of poached pear, malt balls, nougat, lemon curd, toasted coconut, and hints of spice. Vanilla, chocolate, and nut flavors are almost endless on the finish. Add water, or don’t: this is delicious either way. —Susannah Skiver Barton