Boutique-y Whisky Advent Calendar 2018 - Door No.8
Posted 09 December 2018 by Matt / In Bunnahabhain
Bottle Name: Bunnahabhain 11 year old Batch 5
Bottler: That Boutique-y Whisky Company
Regularly readers will know I’m quite fond of Bunnahabhain. I find it to be a versatile spirit that can work just as well bottled young and crisp as bottled old and austere. Door number 8 of the 2018 Boutique-y Advent calendar presents an example of the former – Bunnahabhain 11 year old Batch 5.
Fans of the distillery have been well served by Boutique-y this year – for the particularly flush, both 26 and 37 year old have been recently released, and for the rest of us mere mortals two batches of 11 year old – batch 5 and batch 9. Both come at the same ABV of 49.5% and both cost £73.95. One wonders what difference there is between the two – presumably they’ve composed of a different composition of ex-bourbon barrels. Perhaps we’ll endeavour to review batch 9 in the future and note what differences it delivers – single cask and batch whiskies often vary greatly. For the time being though here’s Batch 5…
Nose: Immediately maritime with intense salinity and coastal qualities – hewn rocks, shingle beaches and steely wet piers. Toffee apples and dried apricots are supported by savoury salted roast peanuts, and sweetened by a healthy shake of powdered sugar. Reduction quickly lessens the perceptibility of salt, adding both pear juice and honey sweetness. Both work – though I’m naturally predisposed to prefer it in its former incarnation.
Taste: Coastalness continues – salted toffee, rock pools, wet limestone and chalk alongside apple sponge cake and salt crust pastry. There’s a tartness running throughout – part lemon, part grapefruit – it fits with the overall steeliness of the whisky rather well. Diluted, this again presents less salt, instead focussing on fudge, vanilla and a scattering of dried stone fruits.
Finish: Medium to long, quite dry and with lingering salinity.
Whilst this Bunnahabhain is straight-forward and unfussy, it’s also chiselled, precise and highly evocative of the location of the distillery. The spirit is leading the cask – as it should be – resulting in a whisky that’s both light and refreshing, but also concentrated and coastal. It’s more expensive than similarly aged examples (e.g. SMWS 10’s) but, on liquid quality alone scores well.
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