The stunning vistas of the Sound of Islay and the chime of bells tolling is what greets you when you step into the Bunnahabhain distillery on the island of Islay. Bunnahabhain, pronounced as 'Bunn-na-ha-venn', means 'mouth of the river' in Scots Gaelic, and is said to be one of the unique distilleries on this island. Why, you ask?
Islay, one of Scotland's five scotch whisky-producing regions, is famed mainly for peated or ‘smoky’ whisky. But, Bunnahabhain stands out from the crowd and primarily produces unpeated whisky.
But that’s not all that stands out. This particular bottling of single malt scotch from Bunnahabhain is even more special since it has been independently bottled. The party behind this beauty is Berry Bros. & Rudd, which is Britain’s original wine and spirits merchant with over 300 years of history. Berry Bros. & Rudd offer independent bottlings of whisky, gin, rum, Calvados, Cognac, and Armagnac. Since these are independent bottlings, the aforementioned remarkable spirits are available in limited quantities, making them rare and highly sought after by collectors worldwide.
Coming back to this special edition Bunnahabhain bottling, the whisky was aged for 23 years in ex-sherry casks before being bottled in 2014. Furthermore, this special edition whisky is non-chill filtered and uncoloured, implying that the gorgeous dark caramel colour can be attributed to the ex-sherry casks.
Now, coming to the best part, the tasting of course!
As you pour yourself a dram, the sherry influence comes through clearly in the aroma, followed by undertones of autumnal leaves and polished wood, with hints of hazelnut and dark chocolate.
Now, take a small sip and let this rare single malt wash over your palate. The dark chocolate influence translates from the aroma to instant flavour as you take in the texture. Next, swirl the whisky in your mouth and experience the beautiful notes of bitter cocoa and burnt caramel with a slight hint of hazelnut. Once that subsides, the sherry elements make an encore in the form of molasses and dried raisins, leaving a divine fruity taste on your tongue. When it comes to the finish, it's rich with remnants of dried fruit before a spicy explosion takes over that leaves a lingering aftertaste of savouriness on your palate.
Berry Bros. & Rudd makes a bold statement with the release of this limited Bunnahabhain bottling as part of its Islay series that has had collectors scrambling for a bottle of this unique, heavily-sherried single malt.