Bunnahabhain 1988-2016, 28yo, 46.8% – Single Malts of Scotland

Another sample in the box of Rorschach samples from Speciality Drinks Ltd. was this old Bunnahabhain whisky. Seeing this got my interest peaked since the vintages from 1987 to 1989 are generally quite spectacular for Bunnahabhain. I’ve worked my way through quite a few of those over the last couple of years and I don’t think any of them disappointed.

So, another one, which I tried right after I tried that already very lovely Bruichladdich, just to set the bar even higher!

On the nose it’s soft and creamy with hints of oak and vanilla. Some malt, and hints of iron. Slightly waxy too, with wood pulp, straw and barley. The barley hints are very crisp, like it’s fresh in the field instead of in a warehouse.

The palate is smooth again (not surprising after trying a 50+% dram first…). Some oak, vanilla, cream. Even puff pastry, with a bit of a punch from the oak and a hint of black pepper. It gets a bit drier after a few seconds.

The finish shows vanilla again, with cream and lots of rich oak notes. Smooth and long with hints of spices.

Well, this kind of works (understatement). When I first got the hints of vanilla I was afraid this was going to be one of these hugely oak driven drams, that are matured to the brink of indifference. As in, some of these drams taste so much of American Oak that it no longer matters which spirit was put into it, whether it came from Speyside, the Highlands or Islay.

Luckily, that’s not the case here and while there is quite some vanilla, it’s also very balanced with all the other flavors that are there for the taking. An incredibly tasty dram that just sold out at The Whisky Exchange. Bummer.


Bunnahabhain 1988-2016, 28yo, 46.8%, cask 100229, Single Malts of Scotland.

Thanks to Speciality Drinks Ltd. for sending a sample!


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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