Distillery/Brand: Bunnahabhain | Region: Islay | ABV: 58.6% | Colour: Oloroso
Nose: 23 | Taste: 23 | Finish: 23 | Balance: 23 | Rating: 92
As I’m sure many of you know of my Islay escapades in May when I went there for the 2015 Festival shenanigans. Since it was my first time on Islay I pretty much went everywhere wide-eyed and mouth agape in excitement.
While my entire trip was something of a gorgeous fairy-tale it was the visit to Bunnahabhain, on their open day, that really set itself apart for me. My friend and I started with dropping our car off in a field and then proceeded to wait almost 45 minutes for the distillery bus to come pick us up.
So fierce was the wind that we almost gave up half way through and were actually entertaining thoughts of heading back. Good thing we didn’t.
We entered the distillery to live music, games and quite possibly the best burgers I’ve ever had in my life. Already feeling quite happy we went up to the distillery shop to pick up some bottles.
Now I’m not a huge fan of the Bunna, the 18 and 25 are very good, mind you, but the other stuff I’m not a big fan of. However, when I was told we had the option of hand-filling our bottles straight from Oloroso casks there was no way I was going to pass up that opportunity.
We made our way into the damp warehouse where sat three huge Oloroso barrels. The sweet smell of sherry and whisky was in the air.
We drew from three casks that day. There was a 12 year old first-fill (Cask1490), an eight year old peated second-fill (Cask 3660) and the one that I’m holding in my hand right now, the seven year old matured in second-fill Oloroso Gonzalez Byass sherry, drawn from Cask 4903.
I could see the gunk and the sediments from the cask as I held the glass up to the island light. I have never seen a whisky nor felt joy that pure. Quite possibly one of my finest moments as a whisky enthusiast.
My sample is from a personally sealed and signed bottle, distilled on 22.10.08 and bottled on 29.05.15 (by my self, I might add!) and served at a cask strength of 58.6%
Nose: Super sweet. So much Oloroso. Dry dates. Dry oak. Chocolate. Black pepper. Cinnamon. Brownies. Dry leaves. Cigar leaf. Almonds. Vanilla. Toffee apples. Mellows out a touch with a drop of water. Slightly more butterscotch. More caramel. Less oak. Beautiful. Sweet as! 23/25
Palate: Very creamy. Digestive biscuits. Quite spicy. Oak. Cinnamon. Black pepper. Chocolate fudge. Dates. Gets even more creamy with water. Becomes less spicy. Slightly more savory. Such a smooth and creamy palate. 23/25
Finish: Very long. Oaky. Hint of spice. Maybe a touch bitter. But more of a bitter chocolate. 23/25
Overall Comments: This is a gorgeous sherry monster. I love the fact that I’ve drawn this out of the cask full of all the grime and the sediments that come with a whisky this pure. It is quite wonderfully balanced between sweet and savory. The cask strength really brings out the flavors. I prefer it without water, too. Regardless of how they taste these whiskies will always remind me of my best day on Islay.