Google Even more old Bunnahabhains

Serge whiskyfun
Thousands of tastings,
all the music,
all the rambligs
and all the fun


Facebook Twitter Logo
Guaranteed ad-free
copyright 2002-2017


Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

August 17, 2017


Even more old Bunnahabhains

Because you just cannot have enough old Bunnahabhain. Let’s see what we can find in the library… (rummage rummage…) and do this vertically…

Bunnahabhain 36 yo 1978/2015 (50.4%, Murray McDavid, Mission Gold, bourbon barrel, Willi Opitz finish, cask #1, 269 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 36 yo 1978/2015 (50.4%, Murray McDavid, Mission Gold, bourbon barrel, Willi Opitz finish, cask #1, 269 bottles) Two stars and a half Not too sure about the sweet wine finish, why would one do that? We sure have the answer, haven’t we? Willi Opitz is a well-reputed winemaker in Illmitz, Austria. Colour: reddish amber. Nose: perplexed, frankly. There are apricots and grape juice, but also these weirdish notes that stem from some good wine casks (good for wine doesn’t obligatorily mean good for whisky). Strange herbal teas, dog rose, blackcurrant leaves, wee hints of geranium, butter, mashed salsify and Jerusalem artichoke, leather, grenadine… The jury’s still out. With water: a little nicer, with earthier touches. Old wood. Mouth (neat): weirdish. Sour and fruity, with raisins and leather, black tobacco, touches of litchis, roasted beans, stewed red peaches… Really not sure. With water: it’s okay, really okay. Butter cream, apricot pudding, custard tart, zucchini flower fritter… Finish: medium, with some old oak and these funny fruity/vegetal notes. Say Jerusalem artichoke pie – and why not? Comments: some funny winesky, not quite for this humble taster though. SGP:461 - 78 points.

Bunnahabhain 40 yo 1974/2014 (47.2%, Maltbarn, bourbon)

Bunnahabhain 40 yo 1974/2014 (47.2%, Maltbarn, bourbon) Five stars This baby’s slipped through my fingers when it came out, but time is on my side (gee, man!) Colour: straw. Nose: back to normality, and in the case of an old Bunnahabhain, normality can be a dream. The quinces are back, there are even touches of well-ripen seabuckhrouberries (I know, I know), some salinity, rather mild orchard fruits (apples), green bananas… All that is very subtle, very elegant, and needs your time. Never rush these and they’ll reward you. Mouth: perfect! A very fresh, lively, subtly fruity Bunnahabhain, with some sweeter/rounder coastal notes (clams, perhaps?) as well as fresh almonds, and more of those moderately expressive fruits, quinces, apples… And yes my friend, seabuckhrouberries (after the first frost). Finish: medium, clear as Mozart, delicately fruity, and very complex indeed. Comments: elegance made whisky. An exceptional old Bunnahabhain that took its complexity from time. SGP:651 - 91 points.

Bunnahabhain 31 yo 1979/2011 (48.5%, Adelphi, 516 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 31 yo 1979/2011 (48.5%, Adelphi, 516 bottles) Five stars Looks like I made a mess of my verticale. Colour: coffee. Nose: fantastic prune-y sherry, close to some old armagnac, with perfect notes of roasted hazelnuts, black raisins, and this smokiness that can stem from old sherry – so not quite smoke. Old tools, a drop of engine oil (Veedol – joking), drops of soy sauce and Modena balsamico (so it was a Ferrari), and the usual walnut cake. Perfect unrushed sherriness, far from any ‘quick finishing’. Mouth: ah wow! Cherries and oranges are coming together with praline and, above everything, a truckload of all-honey gingerbread. Spectacularly Christmassy. Dried figs, bananas, pears, dates, raisins… The spices are very soft too, star anise, soft cinnamon, a touch of cumin… Finish: long, and all on candied cherries. Those big fat black cherries, just love them. We’re almost in Nuits-St-Georges instead of the east coast of Islay. Comments: we all know that Bunnahabhain takes great sherry extremely well. This was a good example. I’ve known an official 1963… SGP:652 - 92 points.

But back to nature…

Bunnahabhain 1965/1987 (50%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #10.5)

Bunnahabhain 1965/1987 (50%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #10.5) Five stars One of the early SMWSs, with those black screw caps. Expectations are high. Colour: pale gold. Nose: once again, we’re finding these amazing waxes that could be found in old Bunnahabhains, and there are many of them. Encaustic, beeswax, church candles (a lot of paraffin)… There’s also a yeasty side, with ales, sour dough, leaven… And then green apples, raw cider, and a growing metallic side. Cast iron teapot. It’s a very naked early Bunnahabhain, has it even seen any oak during its life? But it’s a style that we enjoy mucho at WF Towers… With water: pure clean amazing barleyness. It’s always good when whisky reminds you that it was made out of barley. Possibly some older variety. Mouth (neat): bb! (meaning bloody brilliant). Mango juice, banana and avocado cream, wee herbs, a touch of iron, a drop of crème de menthe, and the most perfect barleyness. A-m-a-z-i-n-g. With water: awe. Did you keep the AMB’s number? Please call them! Finish: truly a signature. Perfect freshness, fruit essences and peelings, and one drop of good beer. Amazing grassier signature. Sweet Belgian endive. Comments: did humans make this? These amazing early SMWS remind us that the Society has been totally seminal. SGP:561 - 93 points.

I should stop now, but I just can’t. How bad is it, Doctor?

Bunnahabhain 33 yo 1980/2014 (45.8%, The Whisky Agency and La Maison du Whisky, sherry, 495 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 33 yo 1980/2014 (45.8%, The Whisky Agency and La Maison du Whisky, sherry, 495 bottles) Four stars See how many Bunnies I missed when they were coming out. What a lazy ‘whisky blogger’! Colour: gold. Nose: it hasn’t got the 1965’s total and utter class, and it sure is a little rougher, but all remains well, with apples and other orchard fruits again, sweet mash (beet?), artichokes, and just a touch of gunpowder. Some sweet beer too. Mouth: better. Sour and sweet beers, certainly an idea of fino sherry, the obligatory walnuts, some tobacco and leather, and then more sweet fruits, around oranges and tangerines, but it never becomes ‘sweet’ as such. Finish: medium, a little brighter. Oranges and a little thyme. A funny feeling of wild leek and a little metal in the aftertaste, as well as more beer. Comments: not a pristine, well-carved old Bunnahabhain, it’s even rather rough. But very good it is – of course. In my humble opinion, as always. SGP:451 - 85 points.

Time to call this a tasting session, don’t you think? One should never push these things… Excuse me? No, no Bunnahabhain tomorrow.

(Gracias Angus, Greg, and Paul)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Bunnahabhain I've tasted so far






Whiskyfun's Home
Whiskyfun's Facebook page Whiskyfun's Twitter page Whiskyfun's RSS feed