Bunnahabhain 20 Year Old 1997 Palo Cortado Finish

Yesterday we checked out the Bunnahabhain Moine Bordeaux and today we’ll check out the second  special edition coming from Bunnahabhain for 2018 – the Bunnahabhain Palo Cortado Finish.

We don’t see too many Palo Cortado sherry casks used in the whisky industry because it’s pretty rare. This is how the Wikipedia entry on Palo Cortado starts:

Palo Cortado is a rare variety of sherry that is initially aged under flor to become a fino or amontillado, but inexplicably loses its veil of flor and begins aging oxidatively as an oloroso. The result is a wine with some of the richness of oloroso and some of the crispness of amontillado. Only about 1–2% of the grapes pressed for sherry naturally develop into palo cortado.

This rarity also explains the high price tag on this special edition, £275 is far above the cost for last years special edition (The 14 Year Old PX finish).

This whisky was distilled: 22.11.1997 and bottled 27.04.2018 after it was finished in the Palo Cortado casks for almost 2 years. 1,620 bottles were made and it was bottled at 54.9%.

Bunnahabhain 20 Year Old 1997 Palo Cortado Finish (54.9%, £275)

Nose: Somewhat musty and fungal at first, takes a few minutes to expose its secrets, then the sherry notes shows up, sour sweet dried fruit and it’s getting a bit dirty, oily, fumes, greenery, Almost a Springbank sans peat… A few more minutes and more layers are exposed, nuttiness then sour sweet fruitiness followed by spiciness layer and back to fungus. A brilliant nose experience.

Palate: Peaty! Where did that came from? Barely any peat notice on the nose… Earthy and mineral, fungus, cacao, sour sweet fruitiness and salt.

Finish: Medium long, lingering gentle peat smoke, salt, sour sweet berries, honey sweetness, very earthy with a bit of fungus.

Thoughts: Wow, this is brilliant whisky. This is a multifaceted whisky – It’s complex and shifting between multiple layers of flavors and smells that integrates so well. The price tag is high and it’s not yet in stores when I write it but if you can afford it, don’t hesitate – it will be gone faster than you can say jack robinson.

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