Bunnahabhain

Review: Macaloney's Twa Cask Series Caol Ila & Bunnahabhain Blended Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of  Victoria Caledonian Distillers .
ABV
46%
Aging
Finished in Re-Toasted Red Wine Casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Producer Victoria Caledonian (Victoria, British Columbia)

This is a blend of two casks from Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila (so...this is gotta be decent at the least!) - a "guest whisky" from Victoria Caledonian while they wait for their own spirit to mature. This was based on Graeme's optimal combination of two casks from the Scottish highlands, among the ones he has to work with. There are two versions of this - an ex-bourbon version and one finished in re-toasted red wine barriques (which is this version) - a favorite of Jim Swan, who consulted for Victoria Caledonian.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

Interesting – there is a bit of a house style in all of these twa casks. All quite leafy, and influenced by that re-toasted red-wine barrique. Quite floral and smoky, with a nice smoky edge. Cinnamon, peat bogs, pear, clove, cinnamon, anise, and good oak influence. The palate has a very nice rising smoke to it, culminating together with Islay medicinal smoke and some red licorice. Nice deep finish, full of minerality, smoke, and dried fruit. My favorite of the Twa Casks – but the red-wine finished Twa casks are all quite good.

Also, I quite like most of what comes from Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila...

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: N/A


Review: Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Bunna 12 2.jpg
ABV
46.3%
Aging
12 Years; Ex-bourbon and Ex-sherry casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Bunnahabhain (Port Askaig, Scotland)

Non-chill filtered, natural colour Islay malt - this bottle is perhaps famous for going against the trend, re-introduced a few years ago with an increased ABV and a stopping of chill filtering this bottle. Everyone loved the move. About 30% of the casks are ex-sherry.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

What a rich, wonderful whisky. The nose is full of sherry, dark fruits, nuts, lemon peel, and a rich vegetal underlying character of peat and light wisps of smoke. The palate is rich, and full of marvelous rancio. Spice, dried fruit (prune, raisins, and currants including dried papaya and mango), and some great earthiness. It’s rare to find such a sharp concentration of dried fruits. The finish is rich, sweet – and a wonderful mix of fruit, nuts, vegetal notes (peat), light ash, and spice – malt emerges quite pleasantly towards the end as well. I quite love the 18 year old – this is terrific, also. The finish carries on, nicely. I love this whisky.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, nearly high, at $90. If Scotch was the only whisky category, this might be higher against the market.

 


Review: Blue Hanger Blended Malt Scotch Whisky 9th Release (Berry Bros. & Rudd) by Jason Hambrey

ABV
45.6%
Aging
7-23 Years
Recipe
100% Malt Whisky
Distiller Clynelish, Glen Elgin & Bunnahabhain (Scotland)

This is a very well known connoisseurs Scotch. It is a blended malt produced by Berry Bros & Rudd who own Glenrothes but bottle a lot of other sourced malt. This is a yearly blend, varying from year to year - often with raving reviews. This release had less sherry and more peat than previous releases - it is a mix of a 17 y.o. Clynelish, 18 y.o. Glen Elgin, 23 y.o. Bunnahabhain, and 7 y.o. Bunnahabhain.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: 9th Release

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2013

The nose is full of mineral and smoke – brilliant, in fact. And there’s lots behind it – peach, wood, guava – the fruit is rich and succulent. It does smell young – but you can tell that the quality of the spirit is brilliant. Some wax, great earth integration, and oak.

The taste has a lot of smoke, with some fruit backing the show – and the smoke comes in waves, appearing at first before fading to some slightly vegetal and stewed fruit notes before coming back and stealing the show again. I like the interplay. On the end, smoking fall leaves, mineral character – I quite enjoy it and find it very intriguing. A very complex finish, with smoke, apple sauce, and slight acidity which makes you want just a bit more. Roasted malt. Dense peat and smoke on the finish.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). At the top of the category, too.

Value: Average, based on $137 CAD.


Review: Bunnahabhain 18 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46.3%
Aging
18 Years; Ex-bourbon and Oloroso Casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Bunnahabhain (Port Askaig, Scotland)

Non-chill filtered, old, natural colour Islay malt - this bottle is perhaps famous for going against the trend, re-introduced a few years ago with an increased ABV and a stopping of chill filtering this bottle. Everyone loved the move.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2015

Big, oaky, sherry lead whisky. Oaky on the nose, with prune, clove, dried apricot, old clove, orange peel, and anise. Big palate full of clove and dried fruits, but with the cereal presented nicely behind with a big wave of full-bodied malt and some lighter apple notes on top. A brilliant integration of sherry and malt. The finish carries on with light mixed roasted nuts, fig, oak char, light rancio, and dried apple. Very nicely done.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, based on $126 CAD. But in some places you can get this at a much better price and value really jumps up.


Review: Bunnahabhain Cruach-Mhona Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
50%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Bunnahabhain (Port Askaig, Scotland)

Bunnahabhain was originally a filler for blended scotch whiskies, even distilling some spirit to be aged elsewhere off the island of Islay. However, now it is producing more heavily peated whiskies – many of which we see as single malts. The distillery has a number of large stills, which produce heavier whiskies because of their shape. Consequently, the character of the distillate is quite a bit different from the other Islay whiskies. Cruiach-Mhona means “Peat Stacks”, and was launched in 2010 as a duty free offering combining younger peaty whiskies and older sherry-cask whiskies (which originally were upwards of 20 years old! I’m not sure what is put into them now, but presumably they are also quite old). The whisky is bottled at 50%, non-chill-filtered, and non-coloured.


Review (2015)

  • Batch: 8

  • Bottling Code: P032853 L5 13:59 14097

  • Bottling Date: ~2014

Nose: Intriguing – reeds, dried apricot, light medicinal notes, biscuit notes with smoke and earth throughout, along with oak throughout the background. The earthiness is quite vegetal – like that found in potatoes, carrots, and lettuce – only without the other components of those vegetables. It’s sweet, and very lightly floral – vanilla, and honey. The main components – vanilla, smoke, and earth are working together but not that tightly integrated, and the nose dries out as it sits. Though there’s a lot going on, the depth isn’t quite there.

Taste: A bit acidic and ashy, with dried fruit and roasted lemons, and a touch of salt, especially on the finish. At the end, there’s a flare up of pepper, which fits in well. Reasonably sweet, as well. No flaws, here, but more complexity and intrigue wouldn’t go amiss. Tannins and spices are felt on the end with larger amounts in the mouth.

Finish: Fire blackened chickpeas, smoking fall leaves, apple skins, roasted malt, more vanilla, and a touch of tannins from the oak.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, based on $107.