Bunnahabhain 1989 Great Cask Review

“Strange Kinda Woman”

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bunnahabhain 1989 Great Cask Series
Selected by and Bottled for Whiskysite NL, The Netherlands
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 23 Years
ABV: 44.1 %

Colour: Light Golden

Nose: Pleasant but not very complex for a 23 Year old Single Malt. The Floral and Fruity tones like Heather, light Honey, Flagrant Soap and (Green) Apple are combined with slightly Salty Mineral notes and light Maritime Peat reminding us of the fact that this Whisky was created on Islay. I also find Mandarin, Lemon, Unripe Peach, Toasted Barley, light Varnish, Butter and Oak. The Alcohol is not completely integrated.

Palate: Sweet, Spicy and Herbal with Sweet Barley, Grass, Citrus, Aniseed, Licorice, Pepper, Toasted Oak, Minerals and hints of Maritime Peat and Leather.

Finish: Medium Long, Sweet and Spicy at first but Dry and a bit Bitter towards the end with Floral Notes (Heather, Grass), Citrus, Oak, Buttered Toast, Salt, Pepper, Cardamom and Licorice.

I added a couple of drops of water. On the Nose the Floral and Citric tones become even stronger. Some Vanilla pops up as well. Palate and Finish remain basically the same. But you can certainly play with a few drops here.

Rating: 82

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 19.5 - Overall: 20.5

General Remarks: The Single Cask Bunnahabhain 1989 I'm tasting today was distilled on October 20, 1989, matured in an Ex-Bourbon Barrel, Cask # 5706 and was bottled at Cask Strength on March 7, 2013 for Whiskysite NL's the Great Cask Series. It sells at around 110 US Dollars.

Bunnahabhain (Mouth or Foot of the River) Distillery was founded around 1881 and is located close to Port Askaig. Usually, the Distillery dries the Malt with hot air or light Smoke, giving their whisky a more subtle flavour then most of its Peated neighbours on the island. 

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: I am more familiar with the peated Bunnahabhains and mixed casks expressions. Therefore this 1989 Great (Ex-Bourbon) Cask struck me as a bit odd. A pleasant Creamy Nose with Fruit, Floral tones and Maritime notes is followed by a quite Spicy, Herbal and Oaky Palate. The Finish is slightly Bitter and did not really invite me to have another sip. It's not a bad Single Malt and I liked the Nose but on the Palate and in the Finish this Bunnahabhain did not convince me. The price is stiff and I would advise to try a sample first before deciding to buy a full bottle! 

Jan van den Ende                                                         November 19, 2014

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