“Islay Malt” (Bunnahabhain 10 y.o.) Review *
* Tasted and scored blind. This l’il review will be done in two parts (in this same post). I will update these notes as soon as I know more and find out what exactly this whisky is.
Alright. Not gonna get too deep into this one aside from saying it was shared with me, unsolicited, from a mate out in Eastern Canada. Such is the wonderful world of whisky. A lot of good people out there just looking to share the experience.
So…this is what we do know as of now: It’s a 10 year old malt from a bourbon barrel (#900070 from distillery ‘x’). Served up at a big, big 59.2% abv. You can see the handwritten label in the photo above. I don’t know any other details. I’m not sure if further info is online anywhere, but I intentionally did not Google any additional details regarding this cask number or anything else related to what is stated above. What would be the fun in that?
I’ll drop a few more lines under the tasting notes below when the truth sets me free. For now…
Nose: Chocolate and chili. Peat. Flinty, wet rock notes. Ash and deep char. Smoke. BBQ sauce and a tangy wine note. Apple and maybe some citrus. An odd note I’m having trouble putting my finger on. Ivory soap. Licorice as it open up. And just slightly farmy/leathery.
Palate: Big and jammy up front. Great arrival. Smoke and anise. Can’t get over how chewy this is; stays sweet and juicy. Somewhat of a disconnect between nose and palate…for the good! The nose seems dry and punchy, while the palate is lush and mouthwatering. Notes of what I can imagine apple skins dropped in ash would taste like. Big dry smoke. A squeeze of tangy citrus. Big whisky, this.
Thoughts: Reminds a little of Ardbeg Alligator, due to the char notes…and Galileo, due to the fruit notes…and Day, due to the ash notes. Having said all of that…it’s not really Ardbeg-esque. I really like this. There is an odd note on the nose that takes me back to a whisky from my early dramming days, but I’ll be damned if I can remember what that malt was.
Follow up: So…turns out this is an indie Bunnahabhain, bottled by Whiskybroker. Never would have guessed it, especially with phenols hovering between Diageo’s Islay specs (35 ppm for Lagavulin and Caol Ila) and those of Laphroaig (give or take 40 ppm). This is a very different beast from other peated Bunna I’ve tried (Toiteach, Ceobanach and a few indies). Out of character and enjoyable as hell. It’s kinda like the average housewife who breaks out the leather and latex behind closed doors. Fun stuff. Here are a few more details for those who may be interested.
** Thanks to our mate, Portwood, for the opportunity to try something unique and to have a little fun with it. Enjoyed the malt and the experience. He didn’t want thanks or anything, but that’s not how we roll. Anonymity maintained, however. Cheers!
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt