Bunnahabhain 25 Year

Bunnahabhain: 25 Year (Scottish Islay Single Malt Whisky: 25 Year: 43% ABV)

Visual: Rich custard gold.

Viscosity: Hard to tell in the glass, but slow progression.

Nose; Sweet honey and stewed apricot. Tiniest touch of smoke. Cured bacon. Custard touch. Very smooth.

Body: Very smooth and slightly light. Pears. Gentle smoke. Cod steaks and oils. Tannins.

Finish: Stewed pears. Cinnamon. Dry oak. Cod and oils. Light honey.

Conclusion: Bunnahabhain has always been on the light end of the Islay range, avoiding most of the peat and harsh character that comes from the better known names. Even so the lightness of touch of this one surprised me. It has a different range of notes that may hint at the Islay home, but it is far from harsh. maybe too far the other way. You get a touch of the island saltiness, but here more with an almost grilled fish character, and a dryness that calls more to tannins than peat.

The odd thing is that the nose is actually pretty big, not Islay style big, but still powerful. The first notes you get are thick stewed fruit, honeyed and with an almost bacon meat character which is the closest thing to standard Islay you will get all whisky. This was nice, exactly what I was looking for, different, big, and complex. The main body could do with more of that in my opinion.

When I got to the body, it was much softer – there is a very soft pear characteristic, which can get lost amongst the odder characteristics. There is smoothness, an almost cod light main body, smooth and just slightly oily. It gives an interesting main body, but it is so light that I didn’t even add water for fear of cracking it further. Maybe it is me, I know from aged expression I have tried they often get lighter and more subtle with age, but not usually to this degree. The finish leads out with that light fruit and a sweet cinnamon touch, regaining a touch of the honey promised by the aroma but so lost in the body.

It is an interesting expression, but not a very special one for that. It really needs more of the notes promised by the aroma as it has become too delicate for me – not something I imagined saying of the distillery. I would say, for this, keep to the younger expression. None are massive or harsh, but they have more weight to what they give. the years don’t seem to benefit this one much, especially not for the cost. Ah well.

Background: 200 Whisky Reviews! Yes, I know I’ve done over a thousand reviews total, but it is a lot slower getting through a bottle of whisky than a bottle of beer. Anyway, I decided to grab something special. The Rummer Hotel have some very nice whiskys by the measure, so I went for Bunnahabhain 25 Year. Unfortunately, it was nearly all gone. They had but half a measure left. The bartender very kindly said I could just have it as he couldn’t sell it. Many thanks. I am wondering, since it was near the end of the and I know current bottlings have a higher abv, if the whisky had been open for a while and oxidised a bit, which was why it was so lackluster. I do not know. Usually Rummer are great for their Whisky though so I’m guessing not. Anyway, since it was free I could get a second dram of a different whisky to celebrate. The review will be up shortly. As this was a very light whisky I didn’t add water as I couldn’t see it helping.

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