Monday, April 14, 2008
Have just tried ... Bunnahabhain 1997 heavily peated cask strength from Signatory Vintage
This is a nine year old whisky from Bunnahabhain, a distillery on the island of Islay off the west coast of Scotland. They have produced a limited amount of heavily peated spirit, which is completely different to the regular distillery style. It is released by Signatory Vintage, who are one of the major independent bottling companies. This whisky is an attack on your senses from beginning to end. Some people like these peaty whiskies and others don't. The nose of this smacks you in the face. I got sweet, smoky aromas with elements of meat (probably bacon), oil, leather and earth. It was like sticking my head in to a cross between a bonfire and a barbeque. The taste was equally as powerful, however the alcohol level was very high at just under 60% ABV (most whisky over 50% is classed as cask strength). On adding water, which is a common practice with most cask strength whiskies, a sweetness came through from the sherry cask that it had been matured in. Also coming through was the salty, brine flavour that is common with regular Bunnahabhain whisky. This sounds unpleasant, but marries surprising well with the other elements to give a very good whisky. Most cask strength whiskies are expensive (generally prices start around £50) but I think this one is good value at just over £40.