Bunnahabhain 1968 (Whisky-Fassle) Review

“We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Cask”
Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bunnahabhain 1968 (Whisky-Fassle Limited Edition) 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 42 Years
ABV: 43.8 %
Chill-Filtration: No
Whisky Review # 565

Colour: Light Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose: Quite Fresh and Light given its age. This is certainly not a Sherry Bomb. The relatively Light Colour of the Whisky also indicates that the Refill Ex-Sherry cask hasn't been extremely active. On the Nose, this Bunnahabhain is Fruity and Floral but with a few Sour - and Mineral notes as well. Make sure you give this Malt enough time in the glass. I find Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Butter Kekse (German Butter Biscuits), Demerara Sugar, Vanilla, Honey, Candied Almonds, Mint, Dusty Shelves, Straw, Cocoa Powder, Espresso and light Spices. And then there's the Fruit of course, the main driver of this Bunnahabhain. There's both Sweet - and Sour Fruit. I am nosing this Malt for more than half an hour now and every time new Fruity impressions pop up. On the Sour side I find Lemon, Grapefruit and Green Apples. The Sweet notes are mostly Tropical such as Papaya, Mango, Banana and Pineapple. But also Pear and Melon. It's quite a Fruit basket. The Oak is there of course but it doesn't dominate at all. The ABV is quite low of course and the Alcohol is fully integrated. After quite a while, a few Herbal notes appear. Despite the fact that the Nose is quite Light for its age, there is enough to discover here if you have some patience. The Aromas don't hit you though. You have to carefully sort them out. I like it that way!    

Palate: A little on the Thin side. The low ABV doesn't help I'm afraid. The Fruit is still there but more in the background. Wax, Oak, Herbs, Grass and Spices come in play. It's a little disappointing after the excellent Nose. I find Toasted Cereals, Wax, Grass, Straw, Resin, Oak, Bitter Salted Almonds, Dried Herbs, Pepper, Clove, Cinnamon, Aniseed, Ginger, Licorice, Honey, Orange, Grapefruit, Pear and a hint of Tobacco.  
Finish: Middle-Long, a little Thin and Bitter-Sweet. The Oak is quite noticeable by now. I find Sweet Barley, Honey, Vanilla, Orange Peel, Mixed Dried Fruit, Grapefruit, Toasted Salted Almonds, Menthol, Licorice, Pepper, Clove, Cinnamon and strong Tea.    

I only had a small sample and just smelled and tasted it neat.

Rating: 88   

Nose: 23 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 22

General Remarks: The Single Cask Bunnahabhain I'm tasting today was distilled in 1968. It matured for 42 years in a Refill Ex-Sherry Cask and was bottled at Cask Strength in 2011 by German Independent Bottler W-F (Whisky-Fassle) in a partnership with Whiskybase, Rotterdam. At the time of bottling it was sold at around 250 US Dollars but in the meantime it has become a very rare Malt and prices for the remaining bottles went up to around 700 US Dollars (October 2016). It won't be easy to find though!

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: This is one of the oldest Whiskies I have Nosed and Tasted so far so naturally I was very excited to try this Bunnahabhain. First of all it's amazing to note that such a whisky was produced on Islay. Because it has nothing to do with the Peat, Smoke, Iodine and such that this island is famous for. This is something completely different. Let's start with the Nose. It still has a Crisp and Fresh feel to it. With a little patience you will discover a wide variety of Sweet -, Dried - and Sour Fruit elements. Really nice but not in an overwhelming way. This Bunnahabhain is not at all a Sherry Bomb. The Palate and Finish pale when compared to the Nose. The main reason could be the low ABV. I firmly believe this Bunnahabhain overstayed its cask time. And the Ex-Sherry cask, I might add, was certainly not a very active one to begin with. As the result, Oak, Oak-Spice and Licorice dominate the Fruit on the Palate and in the Finish. More so, the low ABV gives a Rather Thin feeling to this Bunnahabhain. Mind you, this is still a very good Single Malt but it could have been much better in my opinion. As it is, I loved the Tasting experience but I would never spend 700 US Dollars on this Bunnahabhain.

Jan van den Ende                                                                 October 10, 2016

May 2014

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