Bunnahabhain Burns Malt – a 23 year old single cask Bunnahabhain from 1989 bottled at 48.2%. This malt is part of six new Burns Malt single cask single malt releases from The Whisky Barrel, providing some really great interesting yet varied whiskies. We were really excited to try this dram bottled just last month (March 2013).
As I poured this glorious Bunnahabhain into my tasting glass I was instantly struck by its pale colour, reminiscent of a fine South African chenin. Despite having been languishing in the cask and developing a symphony of flavours for 23 years it had not developed that intensity of colour that you might expect from some of the older whiskies.
The Malt now poured, it was clearly time to get my nose in there. As one would expect, there was a gentle smokiness floating from my glass but this was interlaced with the sweet yet refreshing aromas of cucumber and melon. At first approach you are reminded of the mintiness of the Wemyss Billowing Embers but then this burns malt draws you deeper. An all together well rounded nose that successfully passes this first stage of courtship.
As we sup at this pale dram and let it explore our tongue the courtship hits the next level. The gentle smokiness is still there combined with the refreshing sweetness of cucumbers but now there is a brief taste of spice, vanilla and citrus reminding you of the last remnants of Christmas before returning you to the hope of new spring and a touch of kiwis.
As the whisky evaporated off the tongue it left a pleasant freshness followed closely by a unique dish of smoked strawberries on the finish that hangs for slightly longer than average.
Overall, this is a delightfully pleasant whisky that gently draws you from that cosy position you have occupied by the winter fire for the past few months out into the freshness of spring. I will definitely be looking to enjoy more of this Bunnahabhain and you can too at The Whisky Barrel for £47.85.
[Thanks to our good friend Ben for the guest review!]