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Bunnahabhain lies around 8 miles north of Port Askaig on the Isle of Islay. The distillery is in an idealic, if remote, setting with incredible views across the sound of Islay to neighbouring Jura. Built in 1881 by William Robertson and the Greenlees Bros., Bunnahabhain was able to operate in such an inaccessible location by building a dedicated pier and making full use of the the sea. Small puffer ships brought supplies with barley and fresh casks and offered a direct route for shipping mature spirit back to the blending houses in Glasgow and the central belt.
A whisky which has been largely destined for blends like Black Bottle, The Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark, the Bunnahabhain spirit differs from it’s Islay neighbours in being predominantly unpeated (though peated expressions have become common in the last few years).
As with any large scale distillery which regularly provides for blends, casks of Bunnahabhain often find their way into the welcoming arms of independent bottlers. Indeed, it is one of the few Islay drams which is regularly found bottled in this way.
Creative Whisky Company + Good Spirits Co
The Creative Whisky Company is one such bottler and in this case they have bottled a very interesting Bunnahabhain on behalf of The Good Spirits Co., a specialist retailer based in Glasgow. Founded in Glasgow in 2011, the Good Spirits Co. has played no small role in my own whisky education. A tasting of six drams supplied by Berry Bros & Rudd back in February of 2013 helped to turn my whisky interest from that of a casual shopper into a complete obsession which would eventually, lead to the creation of this blog.
4 years down the line and The Good Spirits Co remain my preferred retailer, still doing what they do best, sourcing the best and most interesting spirits from across the world and presenting them at reasonable prices. With this latest of bottlings however, they have taken affordability to new heights, unleashing a 27 year old Bunnahabhain for just £80 a bottle.
Smell: So much Fruit going on here… Apple, Pear, Pineapple, Melon and Grapes, backed up by a touch of Malty Biscuit. Slightest hint of oak.
Taste: Unbelievably light on the palate.. Pineapple Juice and White Wine with a touch of Malt, Oak and Spice.
Thoughts: A 27 year old single malt for £80 is exceptional value.
The Angel’s have been rather greedy over the years, reducing the ABV to just 40.8% but what has been left behind is a wonderfully light, tropical dram. It’s light and crisp, a summer dram that has to be tasted to be believed. It’s not an obvious Bunnahabhain, with the coastal influence diluted by time but that is part of the appeal of single cask whisky. It is a dram unlike anything I have come across before and the Good Spirits Co deserve great credit for releasing it at such an excellent price. A perfect example of what single cask, single malt whisky can offer.