The temperature is dropping, the general public have gone retail crazy and you can’t go anywhere without hearing “I wish it could be Christmas every day”. It must be December. This means that it’s time to start the #whiskyfabric advent calendar. The first sample kicking off this ADVENTure (sorry I had to do it) was a whisky I did not know much about: A 33 year old Bunnahabhain bottled by Royal Mile Whiskies. Given to me by a new and generous friend – Philip Storry (@Philipstorry). Those of you around the London whisky scene, or the SMWS will most probably know Phil. An insightful, welcoming and fun drinking pal. Happy to share his tales and wares with folk like me. He threw this sample at me randomly last month when meeting at the SMWS tasting room in London. I was incredibly grateful as you can imagine.
Day 1: Bunnahabhain 33yo (45.5%)
N: Delicate and beguiling with a fragrant like quality. Bolder when in glass for 10/15 minutes. Strong whiffs of smoke from the onset. I found this quite fresh, but with a slightly withered edge. Ginger covered in chewy toffee. Slightly sour apples with old grapes. After a while the character transforms to bring more spices, whilst maintaining gentle and buttery. Can’t shake the peppered notes either. Right towards the end some coal smoke. Complex stuff this, needs time to be enjoyed.
P: Definite Bunnahabhain profile. Sweet upfront from the onset, rather fruity with dark berries, but retains a dustiness in character too. Confusing as it’s sweet to begin with before a slight sourness appears. Spices rush to greet the palate and fill the mouth gently. Old sweets, chewy nougat and even a slight hint of Parma violets (not as much as 80’s Bowmore though). Vanilla, dark sherry notes and strong tannins too. Feels old and fragile.
F: Waxy towards the end with the sweetness dying to leave cinnamon and the peppered note. Tannins also dominate the finish but I’m not put off by this. There seems to have been quite a bit of interaction with the wood as some dark oaky notes appear towards the end too.
Comments: This was interesting. I haven’t had to focus on a dram quite like this for a while. It’s a good thing I was in my music room listening to Brad Mehldau at the time as it cleared my mind quite a bit. It is very nicely matured and really does show its old age. Slightly smooth, intricate and enjoyable but highly complex. The tannins could put some people off. One when you have lots of time. Very high 80s.
So glad I got to try this. Thanks Phil!