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

February 17, 2024





Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland

Triple Bunnahabhain

Always enjoy tasting Bunnahabhain, it's rarely ever boring, and frequently excellent. Indeed, many younger recent examples seem to show an excellent and robust character. My spot for this distillery remains thoroughly soft!





Bunnahabhain 12 yo 2010/2022 (55.3%, Lady Of The Glen, cask #554983, sherry butt with PX sherry finish, 320 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 12 yo 2010/2022 (55.3%, Lady Of The Glen, cask #554983, sherry butt with PX sherry finish, 320 bottles)
Colour: pale amber. Nose: beef jerky and game pie - good meaty fun in other words! There's also bouillon, coffee grounds, bitter dark chocolate and herbal cocktail bitters. Punchy and potent stuff, but there's also a nice saltines about the sherry which feels very suitably Bunnahabhain. With water: jammier, sweeter, rounder and with a nice touch of earthiness. Mouth: modern sherry, but pretty good within that style. Rather jammy, herbal, meaty and even slightly medicinal, some notes of Bovril, black tea, pink peppercorn and serrano ham. With water: some fruity muesli with a few chunks of Chorizo dropped into it. It's better than that sounds though. Finish: medium, slightly sooty, on black pepper, dates and paprika. Comments: modern sherry casks can still make rather snazzy and fun whisky when they're clean like this one.
SGP: 461 - 85 points.



Bunnahabhain 17 yo 2005/2023 (50.6%, Art In The Eyes Of An Artist, PX sherry hogshead, 139 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 17 yo 2005/2023 (50.6%, Art In The Eyes Of An Artist, PX sherry hogshead, 139 bottles)
A rather lovely series by Chinese bottler Edward Zeng, which features images of antique furniture and artworks on the labels. Colour: pale amber. Nose: oh, it's a peaty one! Lots of BBQ embers and dry roast peanuts, all wrapped up in mercurochrome and tar extract. Also salted liquorice, bacon jam, Tabasco and charred mutton. Really a big and muscular profile. With water: German rauchbier, ham hock, wholegrain mustard and pickled mussels. A whole meal in a glass! Mouth: again on tar, medicine, soot, cooking oils infused with chilli, iodine and camphor. This impression of tarred hessian, clove and yet more bacon jam and salted liquorice. With water: very heavy combo of peat and modern sherry, going towards roof pitch, kerosene and peppered mackerel! Still on this chilli and BBQ sauce vibe too. Finish: long, very salty, on ramen broth, umami seasonings, tar, celery salt and iodine. Comments: the deli counter meets the BBQ! One of those 'slap in the face' drams that should awaken you from the deepest and darkest of mid-afternoon naps.
SGP: 476 - 87 points.



Bunnahabhain 32 yo 1990/2023 (54.8%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, cask #7815, oloroso sherry butt, 537 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 32 yo 1990/2023 (54.8%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, cask #7815, oloroso sherry butt, 537 bottles)
Colour: deep mahogany. Nose: amazing and rather stunning old school sherry profile, and indeed, you definitely get the aroma of top class, aged oloroso sherry for once, this particular stunning old, leather, dry salty sherry character which is unmistakable. Then of course, also rancio, the most beautiful cured meats (top class Serrano ham, naturally) and beautiful notes of pickled walnuts, black cherries, delicate medicinal touches and camphor. You could go even further, with sultanas, prunes in juice and many other variations on dark, preserved fruits. Some ancient Grande Champagne Cognac as well.



With water: almost going towards tropically aged rum now! These impressions of varnish and old vinyl, alongside more tar extracts, eucalyptus and tea tree oil. Caramelised demerara sugar with English mustard powder. Mouth: a sherry bomb in the truest sense of the word, full on black tea, very old Armagnac, thick, almost textural rancio, grippy tannins, natural tar and various types of cocktail bitters. Also soy sauce, and umami things like Maggi and bone marrow. Coffee beans coated in very dark chocolate (such things exist and will prevent you sleeping for weeks at a time). With water: a far more balanced affair, some superbly gamey notes, plum wine, star anise, very old pinot noir and more big notes of prunes in Armagnac, mushroom powder and herbal cough medicine. Finish: long, heavily peppery, tannic, still on big notes of green walnut, salted almond and salted liquorice, soy sauce and Bovril. Comments: it's a magnificent, mature sherry bomb of a style that barely exists these days, a stunning cask and - rather miraculously - the Bunnahabhain distillery character is still evident within. It's just that the price is so laughable, which is such a shame. For a distillery that churns out over 3 million litres of pure alcohol per year, such a price seems like an admission that they can't deliver whiskies like this anymore, or don't intend to. And I say that as someone who adores Bunnahabhain, including many of the modern and recent bottlings (admittedly mostly indy ones). Anyway, here at WF, we don't score prices, even though we reserve the right to occasionally comment upon them.
SGP: 472 - 91 points.






Let me just add (because I can hear the usual voices cranking into gear) that while I also get stick sometimes in my work as a bottler for some prices, I do believe there is a distinction between 'expensive' and then examples like that 1990 we just tried which seem to come from another realm of ridiculousness - usually a realm driven much more by the official companies than the indies. However, I would add a further caveat, that the increasing majority of malt whisky - official and indy - is becoming generally more expensive than it should be, and has for quite some time. But we are in danger of opening a can of worms that I don't have the energy to tackle today. This is supposed to be my day off, after all. Perhaps I'll do some cognitive limbering up and write something about pricing in the next three or eight years.




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