Would you ever pay £80 for Aberlour a’bunadh?

Aberlour a'bunadh Header 1

Well… would you? Let me be quite clear here. This, shockingly, isn’t a hypothetical question. I’m not talking about the very first five batches of a’bunadh; the un-numbered batches produced way back in single malt’s dark ages, the late ‘90s. No, I’m talking about the current batch, the next batch, and the batch after that. £80? Seems a helluva lot of money for an NAS cask strength whisky, particularly when I could get change out of £50 for a bottle of the stuff just last month, don’t you think?

Not if you’re one of the bean counters at Pernod Ricard, it appears. Just a few short weeks ago, you could quite readily pick up a bottle of Aberlour a’bunadh Batch 61 for under £48 if you shopped about (a couple of websites are still stocking a’bunadh at this price, but no doubt once their current stock runs out and they need to order more from PR the price will jump). I’m not quite sure why, but this very same batch now costs as-near-as-makes-no-difference £80. That’s an increase of around 67% compared to a month ago. I can’t think of a single example of another currently-bottled whisky increasing this much, or even close to it, quite literally overnight. So… what’s changed?

Does the cork have a self-de-waxing mechanism to ensure you don’t look like an arse when trying to open one with a pen knife? Is the box made of Italian marble decorated with 24ct gold details? Does the liquid now entirely consist of 25 year old whisky bottled at cask strength? No, no and, you guessed it… no. It’s the same old recipe, in the same old bottle, packaged in the same old box. But suddenly it costs over £30 more than it did a month or so ago. Why? Sure, sherry casks are getting more expensive, but I seriously doubt the price of a sherry cask suddenly jumped 67% just like that. It smacks of Dalmorisation, or Mortlachisation… you know, the act of hiking up prices for, well, the sake of hiking up prices.

Fuck. That.

For those of us who are fans of heavily sherried, cask strength whiskies, why should we keep buying a’bunadh when we can buy Glengoyne Cask Strength, Glendronach Cask Strength, Tamdhu Batch Strength or Glenfarclas 105 for a fraction of the price? It remains to be seen how this will affect the cult following of a’bunadh, and, crucially, sales. It seems as though this isn’t just a one off for a’bunadh, the RRP for the rest of the Aberlour range (particularly the 18yo) has also jumped significantly in the past few weeks. As much as I enjoy their whisky, I’m sorry to say Aberlour won’t be getting another sale out of me. Not at those prices. Not now.

Thanks, a’bunadh, it’s been a blast, but it’s time for you to go that great big cabinet in the sky filled with equally over-priced Dalmore, Mortlach and Macallan. RIP.

 

 

Comments

  1. It is (understatement alert) annoying to be sure. It’ll probably affect sales, or at least, it should affect sales. However, the drop in volume will most likely be offset by the ginormous price increase, and then some. While I hope this type of business strategy isn’t rewarded, I’m pretty sure it will work out for Pernod Ricard in the end.

  2. Hi Thijs,

    I agree – although sales may fall, I think the over revenue will be maintained, or may even increase, due to the huge relative increase in price. In the long term, I wonder how damaging this will be for the brand? You only have to look at the silence surrounding the Mortlach official range now to see that the general whisky consumer is wise and will shift to better value, similar quality, heavily-sherried whisky.

    Chris

  3. Tamdhu Batch strengths and Glendronach cask strengths have already surpassed the A’bunadh in deliciousness. Choice is clear to me going forward, and I have about 2 dozen various batches of A’bunadh. Sadly, no more.

  4. Hi Steve,

    I agree the Tamdhu Batch Strengths and Glendronach Cask Strengths are equally delicious, if not more so, than a’bunadh, and I can see myself drinking more of those whiskies in the future when I fancy a cask strength sherry bomb. Enjoy those a’bunadhs you have – I wish I’d stocked up on various batches over the last few years!

    Chris

  5. Hell no,

    this is very annoying. and I hereby call all Aberlour fans, not to buy any of that liquid at this price.
    appalling.

  6. Has the distributor given any indication as to the reason for the increase?

    Perhaps we should ask them?

  7. Gal & Bwm, thanks for your comments.

    Gal – yeah, I won’t be buying it any more and imagine a lot of people who enjoyed it will no longer purchase it.

    Bwm – I’ve emailed Pernod Ricard UK for comment and will let you know if they get back to me.

    Chris

  8. The quality of A’Bunadh declined massively over the years so it is doubly galling that the price is rising in this way. Later batches were harsher and even sulphured in at least one case – I stopped buying after that, even when it was discounted.

    I’m sure it is no coincidence that the new Casg Annamh Batch 1 has been released at a very similar price level to the one which we were used to paying for A’Bunadh. Whether it is good value is still to be determined but there is a case to be made for the proposition that the single malt market has been effectively hollowed out and RRP value is now very much a relative term.

  9. Bought loads and loads of this stuff since October,so glad i did. Still available at Ocado 4 50 quid. Snap it up quick and stand your ground untill they reduce the price. And stop telling them how cheap it is!!

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