Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing cask: Ex-Sherry
Added coloring: No
Owner: Chorlton Whisky
Average price: € 220.00
Official website: chorltonwhisky.co.uk
We have already praised David Bennett, a Manchester bottler who, as well as showing excellent taste in his choice of casks, also knows how to choose his bottle labels with care.
With this Bunnahabhain we go back to 2020, when the illustrations chosen to decorate the bottles came from an illuminated manual of Renaissance medical science, part of the Nouvelle Vague series of which we have already tried Ledaig, Lochindaal, Glentauchers, Benrinnes and Cataibh.
322 bottles from a single ex-Sherry refill cask filled in February 2002, cask strength and no adulteration, still (fortunately) available and whose tasting was kindly offered to me by Jacopo and Samuel of the Italian importer Beija-Flor.
On the nose the Sherry shows its roughest and dirtiest nature, sulphurous notes emerge from the glass veining the fruity ones declined in the dark tones of blackberries, sour cherries, dates, plums. The chocolate yearns to be noticed, succeeding only at times, just as the sweeter and more jammy traits (orange, strawberry, cherry) are crushed in the rear under the leather and tobacco soles, in a continuous struggle to gain the prominence where the softer aspect seems to win in the long run. Tormented.
A flurry of black pepper introduces a full-bodied and incisive palate, with a small note of ginger that planes on a sour and sharp soul, where the red fruits become almost unripe with a progressive growth of tobacco and leather notes, veined with dark chocolate and cooked jam. Very savoury in length, the wood and tannins raise their voices and overbearingly dry the mouth, giving way to rather lively citrus impressions.
The finish is long and salty, peppery, where the struggle between the sweet and the grim soul continues without finding peace.
Unbalanced, grumpy, unresolved, restless: a whisky that is imperfect in some respects but fun and unpredictable precisely because of this, a whirlwind of contrasting sensations that holds your attention and doesnt bore. Is it “good”? I don’t know, but who cares: the entertainment is still top-notch.