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
The Bunnahabhain Moine Oloroso is a recently released limited edition by Bunnahabhain distillery that features their heavily peated spirit, released under the Moine label, matured in Oloroso sherry casks and bottled in cask strength of 60.1%.
From my own experience, peat and sherry works together quite well if they are given enough time to mature and so that magic will happen. However, we don’t know how old is the Moine Oloroso but I think we can assume it’s relatively young. So the question is: did it spent enough time in the casks (and wasn’t rushed out)?
Bunnahabhain Moine Oloroso (60.1%, £77.65)
Nose: Heavy bonfire smoke at first, pretty clean and dry, gentle and warm sweet dried fruit, think more purple than red, un-burnt charcoal, soaked raisins, figs, really easy going despite the high ABV. Giving it some more time in the glass it opens up a bit. There’s more punch and more dried fruit sweetness and dark chocolate, some freshness and fresh red fruit. Very good balance for its age (it’s young one, right?). With a few drops of water it’s fresher and there’s less smoke so naturally more dried fruit. Continue reading
One more Bunnahabhain review in the mini series, this time it’s a youngster, only 16 years distilled in 1999 and bottled by Cadenead in 2016. However, this is isn’t your run of the mill Bunna bottling as it was aged in two different casks over its lifespan. Originally matured in ex-bourbon casks and then finished in a sherry hogshead for almost 3 years.
Let’s check who won here, the bourbon cask or the sherry cask:
Cadenheads Bunnahabhain 16 Year Old (49.7%, €99.99)
Nose: Feels mature for its age, gentle sherry impact with sour-sweet dried fruit, a strong vanilla and cream notes, fresh fruit sweetness with classic dried fruit and berries lurking behind. There’s a constant back and forth game between the vanilla and the sherry fruitiness here. Believe me it’s not getting boring. Continue reading
Following the very good and tasty duo from yesterday, here’s another old and well matured Bunnahabhain and it will be a sandwich vintage to the due (from 1988) but since it was the last to be bottled, it carries the 28 year old sign on the label.
It was bottled by Speciality Drinks Ltd (sister company to The Whisky Exchange), 344 bottles were produced from cask 100229 and I have high hopes from it.
Bunnahabhain 1988 28 Year Old (The Single Malts of Scotland) (46.8%, £150/€209,00)
Nose: Heavy and oily nose (definitely more than the duo from yesterday), strong honey note at first with cream and then the fruit joins the party with pears, apples and a few apricots and but the real surprise (for me) is the strong waxiness that popped up here along with a wee salt note that balance the the sweet fruit. After a few minutes there’s gentle spiciness with white pepper and oak spices along with vanilla pudding and soft cereals. With a few drops of water the waxiness is almost gone but the nose gets ultra creamy, A very delicate and beautiful nose. Continue reading
It’s time for some Bunnahabhain love. Our local whisky club had a Bunnahabhain evening last week and there are a few more bottlings waiting for a review so I think it’s time for a mini series of Bunnahabhain reviews to start the week, it bounds to be spirit lifting!
First up – review of a duo of 26 Year Old bottlings!
The first one is a recent bottling from last November, done by WhiskyBroker.co.uk. It’s cask 7730, one of three casks filled with spirit distilled on 22nd December 1989 and bottled on 18th November 2016.
Bunnahabhain 1989-2016 26 Year Old WhB (48.1%, £97)
Nose: Starts with a classic Bunnahabhain bourbon cask profile. There’s honey, and sweet fruit notes that slowly develops into a huge tropical fruit attack and I don’t mind getting attacked like that! Pineapple, ripe banana and passionfruit (passiflora). There’s a dash of peppermint and vanilla pudding. After a while there’s also a slight old bookshop feeling and dark sweet honey. Continue reading