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So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Bunnahabhain 7yo 2006/2013 cask 800088 Berry Brothers 57.8%

The Bunnahabhain most would be familiar with is an unpeated nectar, big bone-d with honey and lots of sherry maturation, which is essentially the house style as we know it. So when heavily peated Bunnhabhain started appearing in recent years, many saw it as a shift away from a lighter blending style to appease the peat maniacs and tap on the huge popularity of peated stuff. Bunnahabhain now has officials at medium and heavy peat available under its own label.

But fewer would know that Bunnhabhain had originally been a heavily peated whisky and it was only from the 60s onwards that unpeated spirit became the norm, a reflection of the popularity of blends and light whisky of the time. Peated Bunnahabhain is therefore a return to form rather than an evolution. But is it any good? Those I tried at Bunnahabhain were very decent whisky, how about a young cask strength bourbon matured version?

Bunna2006

Nose  Nose: Heavily peated indeed, monolithic even, but also way young. Quite new makey and raw. and the spirit is yelling: thick chewy almost raw cereals, clear honey mixed with turpentine amd wet grass. Smells like the mash room in full swing. There is already a good salinity, along with a vegetal ashiness. With water: Tamed but not much change.

Taste  Palate: ‘Robust’ – ouch heavy peat, rather rough and burning. new make, plastic, varnish. Needs water, badly: More of the same plus smoke and ashy sea water, something very rooty in this peat too, newspaper ink. Bit of honey.

Finish Finish: Medium short, ashy, mashy, salty.

Score67

 

This is a reflection of its age and maturity, not of its quality. It is well made and the hints of future peaty greatness rise from my copita. How I wish I can add a few more years and some richness into this massive beast… Can I?

Step 1: Obtain good oak – I settled for Quercus Robur pen blanks. This is English oak, or european oak, the species from which sherry butts of old were made.

IMG_0338

 

Step 2: Split pen blanks and season them by long slow drying in the mini-oven, or boiling then drying in the oven.

Step 3: Turn up the heat and toast them to a nice toasty brown. Sherry butts are never charred but toasted. The effect can be had by turning up the mini oven to 180 celsius for half an hour.

Step 4: Soak wood in sherry. I used a good oloroso.

IMG_0339

Step 5: Shake out and lightly dry wood and introduce it to whisky. Leave in a place with temperature fluctuations and test weekly to avoid over woodiness. This last step I learnt by hard experience. 1-2 strips of wood per 200ml whisky is plenty and could be done in 2-3 weeks. I first used the equivalent of 1 and a half pen blanks and much regretted it after 3 weeks. This is the result:

IMG_0340

Huge sherried nose, the peat losing out to the richness even, but the palate. Ouch really woody and tannic. Oh well, I regret nothing.

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This entry was posted on April 25, 2015 by in Bunnahabhain and tagged .
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