Thursday, August 09, 2007
Bunnahabhain 25 yo
Islay Single Malt Whisky
Charmless prisoner of war camp or delightfully derelict distillery? Some people love the look of Bunnahabhain while others hate it. I personally love the isloation of these grey pebble-dashed buildings on the "north pole" of Islay with their fantastic views across the sound to Jura and the apocalyptic silence that befalls them on a Sunday.
Owned by Burn Stewart Distillers since 2003, Bunnahabhain joins Tobermory and Deanston in CL World Brands' portfolio. Okay, nothing to get all dreamy about, but amazing to learn that Bunnahabhain fetched more than Bruichladdich or Ardbeg when each were purchased in 2000 and 1997 respectively. The company owns the brilliant Black Bottle (Malt Mission #2 and winner of best budget blend in the first 100 posts), as well as Hine Cognac, Belvedere Vodka, and Angostura Bitters.
Since the 1960s, Bunnahabhain has been (with a few experimental exceptions under Edrington in 1991 and 1997, one called Moine released at Feis Isle 2004) been producing unpeated malt whisky. Supply shortages from a decade of neglect meant that the 12yo actually contained older whiskies and, if true, this will likely remain the case for about 7 more years... by my math anyways. This 25 year old bottling, Bunnahabhain XXV, came into the world in 2005 in a limited release of 400 bottles.
All Bunnahabhain tasted in the Malt Mission can be found HERE.
"And it's goodbye to care..."
Sweet corn, and full of sea characteristics with sumptuous malty honey notes beneath. Cornbread, horse feed, Rolos, Raisin Bran.
Slightly oily impact really fills the mouth, succession of flavours from toffee, chamomile, sherry, and general spice to chocolate-y oak, parsley and mint.
Very good, reasonably rare, and quite pricey. Not a very different impact that the 18yo in Malt Mission 132, honey, sherry, and a gripping astringency that tickles the palate. The common criticism has been that this malt is a bit flat. While this might be true for many drinkers, I find the excitement just happens earlier than with most malts and I find this characteristic in all Bunnahabhains; could be the casks, could be the water source, could be the onion shaped stills... The point is all the action is up front in a nearly undissectable nucleus of flavours that erupts on impact, easily overlooked, easily missed for those of us in the habit of waiting to see what happens. This whisky gives an early explosion of flavour that the soft "flat" oakiness of the finish can not possibly compete with. As a result, this stuff has you reaching for more with anticipation. Or trepidation as you watch your bank balance disappear in £155 increments...
Malt Mission #131
Malt Mission #132
Malt Mission #133
Malt Mission #135
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