Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Added coloring: No
Owner: Burn Stewart Distillery plc.
Official website: bunnahabhain.com
For this Christmas, which is a little different from usual, I decided to “celebrate” with two bottles (well, two samples) released at the same time last Summer.
While we were busy dancing and hugging people, on Islay they were trying to maintain the annual tradition of Fèis Ìle with an obviously only virtual edition, with very practical and concrete effects such as the usual special bottlings from the island’s distilleries.
Bunnahabhain thought it wise to release two bottles, different in terms of ageing and finishing, one peated and one not, which I will try one after the other (it’s not true, the articles are written at a distance from each other, but you won’t notice).
BUNNAHABHAIN 2002 MADEIRA CASK FINISH
Ageing barrels: Ex-Bourbon finished in ex-Madeira
Average price: € 250.00
Limited edition of 1,164 bottles with a distillate from 2002 which, after 14 years, spent the last three maturing in barrels that had previously contained Madeira wine.
Deep gold in the glass.
Soft, slightly closed nose of ripe figs, dates, toffee, candied orange, honey, wood wax. Spicy touches of cinnamon and nutmeg. On the length, a hint of almond emerges. Christmasy (and therefore definitely in theme).
A hint of black pepper on the palate on almost marsala tones with cinnamon, caramel, dried (almonds, hazelnuts) and candied fruit (apricot, orange), sultanas, sweet liquorice, dark chocolate. Coffee beans. Pleasant filigree of salt. Simple but full.
Medium long finish of hazelnuts, wood wax, cinnamon, ripe figs.
A solid, balanced dram, no surprises, a pleasant Winter evening’s entertainment. Not a blemish or a flaw, a carefully executed whisky but personally from a special edition (and at this price) I expect much, much more.
BUNNAHABHAIN 2010 MÒINE AMONTILLADO CASK FINISH
Ageing barrels: Ex-Bourbon finished in ex-Sherry Amontillado
Average price: € 250.00
1,658 bottles for this nine-year-old aged in Sherry Amontillado, a cask strength version of the peated edition (mòine means peat in Gaelic) for the island distillery.
Full gold in the glass.
Here, too, you get a Winter distillate, scents of wood, pine cones, resin, freshly cut wood immersed in a dark, thick molasses of caramelised cane sugar, dried dates, ripe figs, candied orange peel, dark chocolate, sultanas. Leather and coffee beans. At times, a whiff of saltiness. Deep, full nose, a real treat.
Slides oily on the palate, with a spicy patina (pepper, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon) that envelops a memory of panforte for the collection of flavors, along with pine nuts, chocolate, toasted wood, salt crystals. Tip of rhubarb. Very rich and intense.
Long finish with smoke, spices, orange, salt, pine needles.
Now we are talking: a multi-faceted, rich, complex whisky that knows how to integrate the aromas without stepping on each other’s toes in a truly unique and original experience that leaves its mark and justifies the price tag.
Other bottlings in the blog:
Bunnahabhain 2007 French Brandy Finish
Bunnahabhain The Coterie Esclusive
Càrn Mòr Bunnahabhain 2004
Claxton’s Single Cask Bunnahabhain 16yo
Morisco Spirits Bunnahabhain Staoisha 7yo
Valinch & Mallet Bunnahabhain 22yo (2018)
Wilson & Morgan Bunnahabhain 2014