Whisky Review: The Whisky Agency x The Whisky Exchange Bunnhabhain 1989 Aged 27 Years

Style: Delicate and Fruity

Nose:

Lemon honey custard cake dressed with steaming fragrance of barley sugar. Beeswax, tropical fruits painted with a touch of tar. Cold breeze of peppermint, thyme and a twist of subtle citrus. Ethereal peat smoke becoming evident as the aroma slowly opens up.

Palate:

Lemon balm diving into thick vanilla cream on the palate. Incredibly delicate delivery of honeycomb, paraffin, stewed fruits, and old-school style of dry, minerallic barley. The tone drops briefly when an early dose of smoky almonds and antique oaky notes… Pretty sure there is a trace of peat here, but very subtle. Orange drops and white fruits with a thin slice of ginger at the core. Grassy peppermint spices giving gentle tickles. Cinnamon dust, cigarette ash, plums and milk chocolate sponge cake towards the end.

Finish:

Faint whiff of coal fire smoke, another layer of tar. Chocolate pudding and tropical fruits simmering pleasantly till the end.

Thoughts:

How adorable is Bunnahabhain when it reaches this age. An elegant display – Honey, paraffin, lemon fruits highlighted with a wee bit of smoke, all nicely integrated and presented delicately. Maybe too soft for some, but it is very approachable and friendly that you wouldn’t mind pouring yourself a few extra drams and get to know it better.

☆ [Recommended]

[44.9% • 2016 Bottled • 1989 Distilled • Independent Bottling • Single Cask • Cask Strength • Non Chill Filter • Non Coloured • Matured in a Hogshead • *]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Duncan Taylor “the Octave” Bunnahabhain 1991 Aged 22 years

Style: Oaky and Aromatic

Nose:
Deep refined sherry cream on the nose. Vanilla showering down with chilli flakes. Wood staves firing all sorts of spices – Oak driven, dry spices fragrance giving a nice oomph to the aroma.

Palate:
Explosive flavours hits the palate. A burst of raisin sweetness accompanied by crisp spices and strength. Arriving mid palate we have more figs and light caramel sauce. Chocolate oak sitting deep at the heart. Faint molasses strolling at the back towards the end.

Finish:
Finishes with milk chocolate, a bite of mint and raisin notes lingering.

Thoughts:
A nice explosive dram, deep flavours powering through with a beautiful control of spices. Sweet and delicious with a solid structure. While it seems to me that the character is not very Bunnahabain-esque, nonetheless it remains a great dram!

[50.8% • 2014 Bottled • 1991 Distilled • Independent Bottling • Single Cask • Cask Strength • Non Coloured • Non Coloured • Cask Number: 387843 • 88 Bottles • *]

☆ [Recommended]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Adelphi’s Liddesdale Batch Release No. 10 Distilled at Bunnahabhain

[46%・Bottled Circa 2017・21 Years Old・Adelphi’s Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Raisins with the barley imparting a slightly smoky vibe.  There is a meaty note, but it’s swiftly blanketed by a sense of green grapes bursting through, foreboding a juicy palate to come.

Palate & Finish:

The delivery doesn’t disappoint at all, classic Bunnahabhain vibes with the juicy-turns-lager-y delivery.  There is a hint of cola bears giving a complimentary acidity.  A crisp palate with a sensible presence of that Adelphi sherry influence, together with a brush of dry chocolate dust they keep the delivery light without weighting down on the tone.

A solid carrythough of the juiciness, now with a more general splash of chocolate powder.

Thoughts:

I have always found the Liddlesdale series to be one of the better IB interpretation of Bunnahabhain, another solid offering from the Adelphi lads!

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Samaroli Bunnahabhain Infinity 1974 – 2014

[43.6%・40 Years Old・Distilled in 1974・Bottled in 2014・Samaroli Bottling・Cask No: 604]

Nose:

Breath of sea breeze, there is a hint of burnt rubber in the air which eventually settles into a delicate stone fruit note.  The wild flowers shy away as the more assertive malt comes in.  A whisper of banana toffee and gentle woodiness in the background.

Palate & Finish:

Soft and velvety, tropical juiciness and cotton candy intertwines though the oak does set in and it distorts the sweetness ever so slightly.

The wild floral vibe continues with a background supported by the malt.

Thoughts:

A well aged whisky that’s more on the playful side.

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Bunnahabhain Aged 40 Years

[41.7%・2012・40 Years Old・Original Bottling・Limited Release of 750 Bottles]

Nose:

The rich mahogany note is simply put, heavenly. Finely cut pear cubes dusted with raw dark chocolate, sweet honeydew with a slice of refined pine aroma that ropes in the slightly drier sandalwood note, atop a layer of coastal grassiness.

Palate & Finish:

It leads with fresh stone fruits rounded by a sweet crème caramel note. The saucy nature fascinates as the richness glides through. Ripe tropical characters go hand in hand with the spices as the woodiness sips in and out in a vaguely casual manner. The delivery gets slightly distorted by the tannins that seem to have dried out the earlier flavours a tad too quickly.

The tropical fructose lingers on and in time become more fragrant, a good juxtaposition with the wee salted biscuity maltiness. A faint touch of raisin zing lifts the slight bitterness and transform it into dark chocolate and coffee ground blended together.

Thoughts:

An imperfect dram perhaps as the nose suggests greatness but the delivery falls just a tad short of that. Nevertheless the dram itself is astoundingly complex and to me it’s a well curated 40 year old whisky and therefore should be recognised as just that.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Bunnahabhain Aged 27 Years bottled by the Auld Alliance

[49.1%・Distilled in 1987・27 Years Old・Independent Bottling・Limited Release of 99 Bottles]

The Auld Alliance doesn’t need an introduction, it’s already one of the landmarks in the whisky world. However, some of you might not know that they have also got an extensive range of in-house expressions on offer for patrons to sample, and they are simply pleasant surprises that await to delight one’s palate.

Out of the few exclusive bottlings I have tried during my recent Singapore trip, the 27 year old Bunnahabhain distilled in 1987 impressed the most, so much so that I ended up bringing a bottle home with me!

Nose:

The nose starts off with a rather refreshing lemony scent, slight hint of soap to make way for the crisp clean malt. It carries on with a soft candle wax note that emits gooey caramel and grapefruit oil in time.

Palate & Finish:

A gentle delivery that provides a caressing oily mouthfeel well infused with lychees, toasted hazelnut, sugar dusted limes, coconut cream and crisp maltiness; a harmonious blend of complexity.

There are traces of beeswax near the finish, the fructose lingers with a fine layer of shaved white oak now becoming noticeable.

Thoughts:

For a Bunnahabhain, this feels like a great Clynelish.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Bunnahabhain Aged 30 Years 1980 Vintage

[45.4%・30 Years Old・Distilled in 1980・Bottled in 2010・Original Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

The nose is gentle, aromas driven by ruby grapes, plump barley and ripe pears from Itayanagi. A pinch of coarse sea salt and eucalyptus in the background.

Palate & Finish:

First couple of notes noticeable on the palate are the honeyed wood spices and the creamy sherry influence. The apple crumble note conveys that refreshing zing of fruitiness, but that is soon subdued by the drying 80% cocoa dark chocolate. Dried fruit peels and the oak tannins then set in as the signature maltiness makes an entry.

Soft crumbly shortbread and café au lait laid down in the finish with a vaguely lingering jammy note lifting the dryness.

✓ [Recommended if you like the style/ distillery]

Nicholas

Whisky Review: Bunnahabhain Aged 18 Years

Tasting Notes:

Bunnahabhain Aged 18 Years

Style: Sherry, Fruity and Aromatic

Nose: 

Soaring waves of toffee sherry, vanilla and almonds on the nose. A dense, oily and soothing scent… At the heart we have chocolate pecans with a dash of salt, sweet cream brûlée and dried mangoes. Dim lit spice gives a nice, soft glow. What a pleasant, enjoyable nose.

Palate:

Delicious black currants build up with a zingy twist of kamquat on the palate. Zesty spices orchestrate the movement of California red grape juice, solid hazelnut and lemon sponge cake notes. Lay back mineral touches. Finishes with subdued red liquorice, chocolate and timber oak.

Finish:

Long raisin and almond finish. Gently sweet, more dark chocolate infused with a hint of citrus.

Thoughts:

Sheer sherry quality. No wonder Bunna is adored by whisky lovers (myself included). How wonderful is it when we can enjoy such a quality whisky day in day out without paying a hefty price? Complex but smooth, sweetly balanced, aromatic and simply delicious!

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[46.3%・2014・Non Chill Filtered ・ Non Coloured ・Original Bottling ・ General Release ・**-]