Bunnahabhain 1987-2014, 51.3% – Liquid Art (The Osprey)

Another one of those freaky animal/insect mash ups on the label. This time it’s an osprey with a moth body. I wonder how much of the whisky they’ve had before they come up with this stuff…

Bunnahabhain is a bit of a hit and miss distillery in most of our books. To me, personally, their old(er) stuff is pretty great, but I can’t wrap my head around the peated versions. The Moine ones, as they call them, are actually pretty tasty, but I don’t think they add anything to what Islay already had on offer. Their lightly or unpeated whiskies, however, are without parallel on the island.

Since the stock of late sixties Bunna seems to have run out, and somehow I haven’t spotted all that much bottlings from the 1970s, they skipped right to the late eighties. But, their late eighties stuff is amazing. I tried one last summer from Berry Brothers, and some others that were slightly less spectacular. Then this one came along. Obviously sold out, since everything from that era that is even slightly affordable (€ 150 for this kind of stuff, unfortunately, fits that category).

Sweet fruits from the start, with fresh peaches, mango, but also a whiter shade of fruit with pears and lychee. A hint of coconut too, so my mind wanders to Sherry Hogshead (no info, unfortunately). Also drier hints of straw mats, and dusty oak. Ever so slightly nutty with hazelnuts.

The palate is strong and sharp with lots of oak and a more spicy approach. The fruit is still present. Again, pear and lychee, but the more tropical mango and peach are present too.

The finish continues on the fruity path, but has a slightly more fatty feel to it. The dry hints of straw and oak go on as well, but then there’s fruit, fruit and fruit.

This. Is. Awesome. I was happy that this fulfilled my expectations of being awesome. It’s so deliciously fruity with a nice combination of more ‘northern’ fruits and the tropical kind. Simply gorgeous. And, what I also like is that even though this whisky is some 26 years old and the oak has far from overpowered the spirit. The slight nuttiness of Bunnahabhain and slightly spicy notes are still coming through nicely.

I wish I was aware of this dram when it came out last year, since I would certainly have bought a bottle back then. As I should have. I think this is a gap in my collection to not have a Bunnahabhain like this, since it’s quickly becoming an iconic kind of whisky, I think.

Bunnahabhain 1987-2014, 51.3%, Liquid Art (The Osprey). Was € 149 but sold out now.

Again, thanks to Serge R. for the sample. Very much obliged. This one was awesome!

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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