I'd make the heartiest recommendation to try Macallan Cask Strength to any Bourbon drinkers that wanted to 'know what it's all about' with non-peated scotch..
It's not afraid of a little water, but no need for it if you're ok with hummingbird sips. Theoretically, it's similar to Aberlour A'bunadh, close to the same proof and age, the bulk of the casks being sherry casks in both cases..
but the difference in taste is significant. The Aberlour is a touch oilier, perhaps slightly smoother, and hasn't any off tastes.. but lacks some toothsome component that leaves the whisky without depth. I suspect it's the barley in part, and possibly that the original spirit is distilled at a higher proof or using a different still type, but the difference is in the original spirit, rather than the aging process.. (*I think*) ..
The comparison was educational, side by side. Blind, with a one CC tasting sample, I gave the Aberlour CS an 86, with a bit of range to both sides for different batches.
I'd put it firmly in the 'middle' shelf bracket, and offer it as a distraction from anything rarer. NOT what i'd give to real friends. The Mac CS is just tastier to start with, and given the huge price increase in the older Macallans, has without fanfare acquired quite a nice bonus on the bang-buck ratio. (IN MY OPINION )
What's funny is the Aberlour 16 is directly competing with Mac 18, and hasn't acquired much of a fan club.. when it does an Amazing job of offering a delicious reason to spend half the money..
And in the Cask Strength versions, the Aberlour charges a premium for its glowing reputation, and the Mac CS seems to be diffidently marketed as the 'poor mans Mac'.. at very reasonable prices.
Try Aberlour 16 & Macallan CS head to head, with their counterparts of the other brand and see if you don't notice the differences. It's as if the publics perception depends on the price.
FWIW, I bought three different batches of the A'Bunadh to taste test, and drank one, swapped one unopened, and gave the opened 2nd one away. Without replacing it.. and I'm scheming on buying Aberlour 16 with glee.
Head to head, Aberlour to Aberlour, there's no contest whatsoever. The CS is well made ethanol with flavoring, the sherry casked 16 is very nearly *great* booze.