Long back, a very talented multi instrumental, multi country music buddy encouraged “Bunna” explorations as his kind of Islay – not really peaty but having substance and character to spare. Over the years, I’ve had mixed experiences – some excellent, some so so and some that didn’t quite do it for me.
Bunnahabhain 14 year (24 Oct 2002 / 31 Oct 2016) Bourbon Hogshead No. 3048, 56.7% 307 Bottles
- Nose – Initially greeted us with quite a distinctive coconut oil… which settled down into salt water taffy, candied guava, fresh bread, orange comfy or cointreau, even a bit of coffee candy, swirling about with a hint of smoke too – more like an echo or subtle embers than a live burn…overall leaving an impression of fruity
- Palate – Silky smooth… some salted caramel, spicy desert, herbal, buttery… with a wee bit of even peanut butter, richly rolling around nicely on the tongue
- Finish – Lovely and long, delicious
- Water – No need… truly
I have to confess that this is without a doubt the best Bunnahabhain I’ve had in a long time. Even better as it sits in the glass, opening up more and more. While a different character, there was an element of the lightly salted ‘buttery’ quality that made us think of the insanely delicious Aveux Gourmands.
Whiskeys from Bunnahabhain are always good for a surprise and this single barrel is no exception. Anyone who wants to deduce the taste from the nose impressions of this bottling will be amazed at how different the whiskey ultimately behaves on the palate. At least one can rely on the well-known attributes of most Bunnahabhain bottlings: hardly any wood, a little salt and a good balance of all aromas.
- Nose: Soft and fully ripe fruit notes such as cherries, star fruit and lychees. Underneath there is a layer of salty peat that has a slightly medicinal effect, but also a damp campfire that was already burning the day before.
- Taste: Spicy like in a hay barn, herbal notes like dried thyme and thistles, slightly nutty and almond-like, the fruit notes linger in the background, but they now appear much fresher and crisper. The peat and smoke notes also remain surprisingly restrained.
- Finish: It is especially the herbal notes that stay on the palate for a long time and become dry towards the end. Very late, a pinch of fleur de sel tickles the taste buds.
What about other Bunnahabhain explorations?
- 18 year 46.3%
- 24 year (1990) HH No 7398 51%
- 25 year (1991/2017) Cask 5436, 50.5% (Blackadder Raw Cask)
- 26 years (1988/2014) 48.6% (Signatory)
- Bunnahabhain 35 year (1979/2018) Sherry Cask#9521 47.9% (LMdW Artist #8)
- Ceòbanach 46.3%
- Chuach-Mhona 50%
- Eirigh na Greine “Morning Sky” 46.3% Batch 1 + Batch 5
My “Last Chance” set also contained:
- Glenturret 8 year (Dec 2020 – Apr 2019) Bourbon Hogshead 57.5% 330 Bottles
- Ardmore 16 year (May 2000 / Feb 2017) Bourbon Barrel 52.3% 159 Bottles
- Inchfad (Loch Lomond) 15 year (Feb 2005 – April 2019) Bourbon Hogshead 55.5% 300 Bottles
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