In one of the scavenger hunts through the remainder of my samples I found this wee baby. A couple of centiliters from 45 years ago, bottled a rather long while ago by now. These old Bunnahabhains are a light and day difference to virtually everything that’s coming out in these days, with almost all single casks being heavily peated spirit.
I find that a shame, since the beauty of Islay’s whisky is also in its diversity, and with Bruichladdich also switching to a large chunk of peated spirit since the reopening almost two decades ago, there’s not much left. Unless you count Ardbeg Blasda as something worth drinking, because that thing also exists.
A very timid nose, with lots of old barley notes. Dried oranges and oak. Almonds, hazelnuts, very typical for Bunnahabhain. Slightly earthy, and some moldy paper in the attic’.
The palate is a lot sharper than I expected with quite some chili heat from the alcohol. It’s pretty dry, earthy and has a lot of nuttiness too. Almonds, hazelnut and because of the dryness also some walnuts. Dried tangerine and orange. It gets a bit waxy later on, which fits with the oranges (the peel)
The finish quickly mellows with a lot of dry warmth going down. Oranges, nuts, oak and barley.
This is exactly what you want from an old Bunnahabhain. Lots of ‘simple’ notes of the grain and the oak, with additional flavors of oranges and a lot of nuttiness. The last part is typical for Bunnahabhain, and it’s gorgeous.
Bunnahabhain 1975, 36yo, Refill Sherry Cask, 53.5%, bottled by Jack Wiebers’ Whisky World, in the Auld Distillers Collection. Available at Whisky Antique for € 565