Bunnahabhain is one of those distilleries that is defined by more of what it is NOT than what it is… Kinda like how Canada describes itself by its differences from the United States.
The most obvious is that while an Islay distillery…. it generally does not peat its drams.
When I was first introduced to Bunnahabhain it was described by my friend (who is a fan) as “What women at the pub drink.” Nothing complex or classy, just straight forward and a bit sassy…. having the Islay oomph without the peat clobber.
So what would be its 90 sec “elevator pitch” description? And would this sampling help us answer the question….
Bunnahabhain 24 year (1990) “Blosson” Hogshead cask #7398 51% Hot Malt Taiwan (270 bottles)
- Nose – It started off by playing “hard to get” then revealed a ladies perfume with a sharpness too, a waft of tropical fruits, then men’s cheap cologne
- Palate – Hot spice, a sour funky almost rubber quality, a bit of mineral rocks? A seriously solid dram… as it settled had a hint of chocolate
- Finish – Long and strong
- Water – Oh please! We found a few drops really opened it up so much… morphing from being in the “I’m not entirely sure about this one” to a rather beautiful dram
While it is unpeated… that slight rubber or plastic element on the palate could also be describe as almost smokey. Certainly a conversation Bunnahabhain… where there is more than meets the initial sniff!
This is one of those rare drams that if you don’t happen to be a Malt Maniac are unlikely to encounter… even trying to track down an image was challenging until I went to Serge’s marvellous encyclopaedia of whiskies – WhiskyFun!
So would this experience give us the answer to the “distillery character”? Probably not. But was good to try!
Other Bunnahabhain tasting experiences?
- Eirigh na Greine “Morning Sky” Batch 1, 46.3% + Batch 5
- 18 year 46.3%
- 26 years (1988/2014) 48.6% (Signatory)
You can also find Whisky Lady in India on: