Long time no hear … we had a lot of tastings and media events going on, and then a virus hit the whole family and my nose. Well, what can you do …? Now I am back at the tasting table and eager to try some Bunnies from different bottlers, all from ex-sherry casks. Recently Bunnahabhain could convince more and more people. Let’s see if these three bottlings are in line with the rise of this underrated Islay dram.
Bunnahabhain 43 y.o. The Whisky Agency ‘Sea Life’ 1968 – 2012, refill sherry butt, 498 btl., 47,0%
Comment: Excellent right from the start! It posesses a hugely fruity nose (this tropical and sour fruitiness I adore – passion fruit, melon, guava, grapefruit, kiwi, etc.) with maritime elements in the background and quite a combo of caramel and vanilla. A cookie-like and rather discrete oakiness is kept at bay by the ever-present fruits and whiffs of coconuts, almonds, late-harvest Riesling, heather honey, marshmallows and spring flowers. A really complex dram yet easy to like. On the palate it has more power and spice than one would expect, somehow not as well integrated as its nose – so let’s add water: yes, that was the key, now the beautiful aroma is translated all the way into the finish. A wonderful oldie, absolutely worth the 225.- Euro.
Bunnahabhain 21 y.o. Archives 12.1990 – 03.2012, fresh sherry cask #14, 62 btl., 52,3%
Comment: This one is clearly sherried and comes from a good cask. Aside from the salt and parma ham, I am getting notes of morello cherries, plums, raisins and marzipan – yep, Christmas cake-like. Pepper and beef jerky complete the nose. On the palate it is less complex and the raisins and the marzipan take the lead along with wet dark wood planks. Then the dram turns dry towards a sherry- and cherry-laden finish. Water brings out even more raisins (some love that), which dominate the finale. The other aromas are there but more in the background. Very drinkable and suitable as a X-mas dram for sure.
Bunnahabhain 21 y.o. TheWhiskyCask 1990 – 2012, sherry butt, 54,0%
Comment: At first nosing, this darker Bunnie is very similar to the Archive bottling above but it is a bit more closed and dry, spicier (pepper, chili), less fruity overall. Prunes and plums, freshly ground Sicilian coffee, dark chocolate filled with cherry schnaps (Mon Cheri), Vintage Port wine and dark wood are the main elements. In the mouth it is even closer to its sibling from above, but it is more restrained with bigger coffee notes and a drier finish. Water helps a lot here and makes it much more enjoyable and complex. For sherry-heads, though.