When you think of peat you can sometimes be mistaken for only thinking about Islay. There is actually quite a lot of mainland peat examples out there on the market now but even if you have an Islay whisky like this Bunnahabhain you could easily think all peat tastes the same. That is far from true and actually getting a decent in depth understanding of the different profiles of peat on Islay can make you fairly accurate at identifying unnamed distillery bottles.
Bunnahabhain peat is the unusual style with most of the production being unpeated. It is a very dry, oily and ashy flavour profile and in that respect is quite unique on the Island. The closest I would think to Bunnahabhain is Port Charlotte I would say which is actually another of my favourites so I guess I have a type.
This is a 13 year old peated single malt from Bunnahabhain which has spent its whole life in a Oloroso sherry cask and matured in Warehouse 9 at the distillery. This particular bottle is only available from the distillery itself in a hand-filled 20cl bottle or 5cl sample bottle. Being hand filled it is completely natural from the cask and with a strength of 55.1% ABV.
By its very nature of course once the cask is finished then the release is gone but the visitor centre always has some kind of interesting cask on hand to sell you for making the trip over to the wonderful island. From memory I think the bottle is something like £35 a bottle so not too bad value.
Colour – polished mahogany wood
Nose – full on sherry notes with lots of dried fruits. Smoky bacon crisps, bonfires a touch of brine and a subtle wood and tobacco ash.
Palate – The texture and viscosity is so thick! The sherry cask cuts through pretty sharply. Spirit driven this is not. Lots of alcohol soaked fruit notes and a deep dry and ashy smoke.
Finish – Lots of charring and ash from the peat. Some toffee, raisins and fudge sauce. Lots of earthy tones to this one.
There is lots about this which reminds me of the limited release Bunnahabhain Moine Oloroso from around a year ago. That was an excellent whisky and so is this single cask. If you can find any sherry matured peated Bunna’s at a good price just now I would pick them up. This is excellent but then to me so are all the others