Bunnahabhain 1989-2018, 28yo, 42% – King’s Court Whisky Society

This whisky, which is technically undisclosed and named as ‘From the northernmost distillery on Islay’ is, of course, a Bunnahabhain. The entire fact that it’s from the late eighties and unpeated made that clear without any further thought.

I got sent the sample last week by Nils Reinaerts, who has been a member since forever. I joined the club for a little while back when I moved to Krommenie. However, with Haarlem being relative close (except when trying to get there without a car) I cancelled my membership after two years of not joining any activities.

Anyway, late eighties Bunnahabhain, from a first fill sherry cask should be good, right? I’ve had a few in the past that were well worth their money. Of course, that money has increased over the years and this bottle now sets you back € 215. Compared to some other releases that’s not too bad, but it’s not exactly cheap either.

Oh, on a side note, the low ABV of 42% is still cask strength. It must have been some porous staves in that cask.

Image from Whiskybase

It starts with a good combination of cask and grain. Quite a lot of barley, straw but also some fruit. Old, drying oranges, apricot. The sherry adds some spices too, I’m getting clove and cinnamon.

The palate is rather dry with a lot of fruit and grain again. Quite some oak, more than on the nose. Soft oak notes, with some complexity from the sherry. Dried apricots, nuts and baking spices. Slightly earthy later on.

The finish is suddenly a lot more fruity, with grainy notes in the form a rather not-sweet pound cake. Slightly buttery, with a earthy and salty note.

Well, this is quite cracker. It’s exactly what you hope Bunnahabhain from this age to be. Fruity and slightly dry, with a good balance between really good spirit, and a, luckily, not too active cask.

I like the fruity notes that aren’t too prominent, and not too sweet. The barley is still prominent. A very, very good pick!


Bunnahabhain 28yo, 10/1989 – 07/2018, 1st Fill Sherry butt 23003, 42%. Bottled by King’s Court Whisky Society. Available from Best of Whiskies for € 215

Sample kindly provided by Nils Reinaerts of KCWS.


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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