Thanks to /u/Boyd86
for this sample
Bunnahabhain is one of the most interesting Islay distilleries. And not for the reasons that others are typically interesting.
Normally Scotch drinkers lean towards peat, because… well it’s peat, that’s awesome. But Bunnahabhain doesn’t typically peat their drams a lot (very low amounts).
So what makes them special?
It’s hard to say. Perhaps it’s because the OB line has some interesting characters. The 25 is certainly quite tasty. They tend to use quality sherry casks and it shows. However I have a different reason.
You can find tons and tons and tons of Bunnahabhain independent bottles. So much so, that Adelphi, who are working on a distillery that will be named Liddesdale, uses current Bunnahabhain as a target for what they want it to taste like.
Because of that, I’ve had the chance to try and enjoy a lot of 20+ year scotches from this distillery. And it’s been a lot of fun.
However after not being the biggest fan of Bunnahabhain 12 (see below), I’ve shied away from the younger ones. And not to sound all NAMBLA, but maybe I was wrong and the young ones need some love.
Granted, what does Marlon Brando Lookalikes know about whisky?
That brings us to Bunnahabhain 7 2006 (cask 800089) Berry Bros & Rudd, a young, lightly peated offering. No sherry casks, no huge age, cask strength, and more peated than normal. Again, very different than the standard. And thus, very interesting.
Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Cask # 800089
Colour: 7.5Y 9/4
Nose: Brown sugar, nori, ash, lemon, bacon, soft licorice, chocolate
So… am I being punked? Because in all honesty, this smells like Ardbeg 10 and Laphroaig Quarter Cask got together and made a whisky baby.
Which is typically a term I use when describing my bathroom habits the day after I drink heavily.
More I nose this, the more it has those typical Islay, peated notes. It’s young, so the peat is strong and the ash is more present, but… yeah, this smells like an Ardbeg.
Taste: Smoke, raspberry, hard candy, brine, radish
There’s clues here that make me lean towards this being a Bunnahabhain. Clue 1: Boyd86 isn’t a dick and wrote the name on the bottle.
Clue 2 is the slight raspberry and candy notes. However after that it’s all “Ardbeg” country. And a little bit Laphroaig.
Finish: Lager, caramel, lemon, vegetal, cloves, cinnamon, smoke, dry pear
Different, more complex finish, though it has a note I’m not a fan of (lager) at first. Dry, lots of spice.
You know what? Just repeat what I said, this finishes like an entry level Islay peated whisky.
Conclusion: So this is Bunnahabhain making an Ardbeg. Or making Laphroaig QC. Or something in between. No joke, if you’ve had one of them, you’ll understand this profile, with maybe some younger notes and the odd sense that this isn’t them.
I feel my score of Ardbeg 10 is a little higher than it should have been. And I feel the lager note in the finish makes me drop this by 1 point, because fuck lagers. So that’s how I came to this score. This was odd.
Scotch review #585, Islay review #131, Whisky Network review #976