For our next dynamic duo, we went to independent bottlers – both new to me! From what little I could find, both seem to be German based… and were chosen by our whisky guide to contrast and compare drams in their 20s from Islay and Island.
Now I must admit, I’ve had a mixed relationship with Bunnahabhain – particularly their older whiskies which haven’t always lived up to expectations. However I’m always game to be be pleasantly surprised!
Bunnahabhain 25 years Single Cask (2016) 47.7% (Wiebers Brothers)
- Nose – Citrus, hay, honey and yoghurt, very light toffee, milky and a bit shy, mineral, musty
- Palate – Surprisingly light and effervescent, then took a slight odd turn – was that sweet pickles?? Followed by some cayenne pepper, tangy, more of that mineral quality, a tough vegetal
- Finish – Verbena and cayenne
This definitely fit into the category of “ya gotta work it”… what was interesting is how the empty glass held more aromas than when it held liquid.
I still haven’t been able to find any details on Wiebers Brothers with this having a mere 120 bottles. We aren’t sure when the bottle was originally opened however it is possible it was for some time or not… one never knows the impact of oxidation on a whisky’s character.
Tobermory 20 years (1996/2016) 58.8% (The Alambic Classique Collection)
- Nose – Lemon balm, beeswax, fresh, sweet grass, honey, fresh raw cashew nut… it began evolving becoming fruitier
- Palate – Quite a contrast to the aromas! Sweet spices, pink and white peppercorns, lots of character without heat, beautiful and well rounded, light cinnamon
- Finish – Wonderful! The flavours just carry on and on and on….
Once upon a time, we discovered “mouth breathing” whisky – where you take a good waft of aromas then swig and then breath, seeing what the whisky has to say. In this case, it was like having a lovely aromatic hookah.
Some whiskies are all the nose with the palate a pale shadow, others are the reverse. That would be the case here – an absolute stunner on the palate – really outstanding. This is also one of those drams where just a little goes a very long way – particularly with that remarkable finish. A true class act.
Alambic Classique has been an importer and wholesaler of specialty spirits since 1981, and is also an independent bottler for rare and exclusive single malt whiskeys from Scotland. Our bottle was from their Special Vintage Selection – cask strength, uncolored and not chill-filtered.
What more do we know about this one? It a bourbon barrel from a single cask with 247 bottles.
If you haven’t already gathered so far – the Tobermory was for us the clear winner!
What else did we explore that evening at The Union Jack in Berlin?
- Benromach 15 year 43% vs Cragganmore Distillers Edition (2008/2020)
- Scotch Malt Whisky Society Glenfarclas 1.208 “Long Conversations by the crackling log fire” (1997) 54.3% vs Glenlossie 46.74 “Orchard perambulations” (1997) 54.4%
- Glenglassaugh 40 year (1965) 47.8% (Murray McDavid Mission)
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