After a long hiatus due to COVID-19 mood and because things got busy at work it’s time to resume some whisky writing besides posting some news on the Facebook page.
I was in the midst of writing the second Bunnahabhain Feis Ie 2020 review so let’s complete it and then resume normal bog operation (with the Laphroaig bottling waiting for a future special Laphroaig project).
This Bunnahabhain was the older (and more expensive) botting available before the open day (when the distillery released a third whisky, expensive and super premium). It’s a 17-18 Year old unpeated whisky, finished in Madeira casks.
Bunnahabhain 2002 Madeira Finish Fèis Ìle 2020 (53%, £199, 1164 bottles)
Nose: Oily, sweet pungent, dunnage warehouse, honey and flower petals, milk chocolate, cranberries and peaches, almonds, cookies dough, clearly distinct roses petal, oily did we say? also quite heavy, marzipan. After a while there’s more chocolate, the floral side get stronger, darker honeyed fruits and pastries. There’s depth and complexity here. Continue reading
The Kilchoman Fèis Ìle 2020 festival bottling was good – can we continue this trend with the Bunnahabhain festival bottlings? There were 3 festival bottlings this year, two were announced before the festival and one was released as a surprise during the virtual open day.
The more accessible festival bottle, just like previous years, was a Bunnahabhain Moine. This time it was a 2010 vintage finished in Amontillado sherry casks.
Let’s check it out:
Bunnahabhain Mòine 2010 Amontillado Fèis Ìle 2020 (56.9%, £99, 1658 bottles)
Nose: soft smoke, sweet grapes, fermented grapes, oily, slightly toasted nuts, a bit of salted fish carpaccio, grapes peels (yeah, a lot of grapes related notes), tobacco smoke behind, fresh, dough, cereals, fresh with some sour sweet juice, vanilla, green fruits, artificial canned tropical juice, apricots, whiffs of char and well defined smoke. Continue reading
Earlier this year many of special editions in Distell 2019 Collection were covered here but some avid readers noticed I didn’t post reviews for some of them for some reason.
The headline of the collection is Bunnahabhain 1988 30 Year Old that was finished in Marsala casks. I skipped reviewing it back then as it wasn’t yet available in shops, but now that it did hit the shelves, here are my impressions of it:
Bunnahabhain 1988 30 Year Old Marsala Finish (47.4%, £450/€489,95)
Nose: Soft, there’s nice depth here, tropical fruits, pineapple, kiwi. Meshes well with the Marsala impact of soursweet red fruit and tingling spice, roses petals and cinnamon. Continue reading
Yesterday we checked out the Bunnahabhain 2007 Brandy Cask Finish which was good but I felt was missing something to be a special offering and today we’ll check his twin – the Bunnahabhain 2007 11 Year Old Port Pipe Finish.
This whisky spent almost full 9 years in refill hogsheads and then was finished for 2 more years in Portuguese port pipes. Only 1578 bottles were made at abv of 55.3%.
Bunnahabhain 2007 11 Year Old Port Pipe Finish (55.3%, €159)
Nose: Sweet nose, red fruits with plums, sour-sweet red berries, blueberries, roses, honey, vanilla, oily and heavy. After a few minutes the berries legion is led with raspberries mixed up with a few strawberries, hints of spice and white pepper, cinnamon and hard candies. Continue reading
This year, Distill collection contained 3 Bunnahabhain releases and for the first time in a few years none of the special releases is peated.
The first one we check out is a 11 Year Old Bunnahabhain from 2007 that was finished in French Brandy casks before being bottled at 52.5%
Can it live up to the expectations of previous years releases?
Bunnahabhain 2007 11 Year Old French Brandy Finish (52.5%, £109/€149.90)
Nose: Somewhat dry and quite oily, A very airy feeling like we’re sniffing it from afar time does the trick and the it’s getting stronger and bolder: grapes, a bit of smokiness (and no, it’s not a Moine release), sultanas, sweet honey, pears and peaches, beeswax. After a few more minutes, soft and gentle peat, nuts and honeyed grapes. Fruit blossoms perfume. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Just like in the last few years, we get to see again in 2018 some special releases from Distill distilleries. But this time it’s all coordinated and they were show cased in a dedicated event called ‘The Malt Gallery’ which is to become an annual event.
This year there are six special releases from Bunnahabhain, Deanston and Tobermory and the first one to be reviewed is the Bunnahabhain Mòine Bordeaux.
It was distilled on 18.12.2008 and bottled 26.02.2018 (so 9 year old age statement) spending all this time in Bordeaux red wine casks. 4,536 bottles were made, bottled at 58.1% and pretty much all of them were gone from the web shops following the huge success of previous years special releases (Moine Oloroso and Moine Brandy).
Bunnahabhain 9 Year Old 2008 Mòine Bordeaux Cask Matured (58.1%, £99.90)
Nose: Right out of the fresh bottle it was very closed and needed some time to open up. Then we get dry smoke accompanied by red berries, cherries and red wine. After breathing for a while there’s smoked meat and sweet glazed BBQ meat with nuttiness to top it all. Continue reading
Today under the microscope is the latest official release from Bunnahabhain distillery. Bunnahabhain Stiuireadair is a No-Age-Statement whisky but is also a fully sherried whisky in 1st and 2nd fill Sherry casks although I assume it’s mostly 2nd fill casks. The reason it was born was to replace the staple 12 year old in some markets and to live side-by-side in other markets. All towards the goal of preserving the precious aged stocks despite the rising demand for single malt whisky.
Does it work? Can it truly replace the 12 yo as a daily sipper and help preserve the aged stock?
Bunnahabhain Stiùireadair (46.3%, £38.45/€31,50)
Nose: Malty, nice touch of sweet red fruit, there’s the Bunnahabhain heaviness and oiliness, After a while, more dried fruit, raspberries and strawberry and also getting them in the fresh form. Gentle dark chocolate and caramel.
Palate: Malt and oak spices, cereals porridge, bitter espresso and dark chocolate, prunes, sweet dried fruit towards the end but overall much less noticeable sherry impact on the palate.
Finish: Medium length, malty, lingering bittersweet coffee, chocolate and gentle oak spices.
Thoughts: All in all, I think that the Stiùireadair successfully does what it created to do. It’s a gentle young sherried Bunnahabhain (my guess? a mix of 7-10 year old casks) that can and does shoulder part of the heavy demand for a Bunnahabhain daily sipper. And the price is reasonable (especially in Europe). Personally I’ll still pick up the 12 yo over this one, but in the broader picture and long term goals of Bunnahabhain, it’s a ‘mission accomplished’ whisky.
The second review of the week is another young whisky bottled under the Provenance brand that reached our shores, and this time it hails from Bunnahabhain distillery on Islay.
Yes, Although it’s young and we see a lot of young peated Bunnahabhains (Moine) released around of the same age range, but this is no Moine, just a pure standard unpeated Bunnahabhain. This cask was distilled in 2008 and bottled in May 2016, yielding 451 bottles.
Provenance Bunnahabahin 8 Year Old (46%, DL11561, 245NIS)
Nose: Oily and heavy, malt, gentle honey sweetness, and weak fruitiness, vanilla laced porridge.
We’re approaching the end of Feis Ile 2017. Only two more distilleries left: Bunnahabhain today and Ardbeg tomorrow. Here’s your Bunnahabhain fix for today: a 23 year old sherried bunna from the Whiskybase.com Archives series. A sherry butt #52 that was distilled on 12/1990, bottled 02/2014 yielding only 201 bottles (might be a cask share).
Bunnahabhain 1990 23 Year Old (Archives The Fishes of Samoa) (47.9%)
Nose: Dried fruit and despite the low ABV it’s quite intense and punchy at first. Lots of raisins too, feeling a bit lighter due to some fresh red fruit and berries puree/mash, some vanilla and honey. Slowly some chocolate, nutmeg and cinnamon shows up. Continue reading