This 15 year old Bunnahabhain was matured for over 14 years in an ex-bourbon cask before being subjected to an additional 5 months of finishing in a specially commissioned oloroso sherry Octave.
Nose: A gentle nose that improves and opens with a short period of resting. Apple and berry crumble – buttery and biscuity. Poached pears with a punnet of cranberries drenched with the juice from a tart lemon. Toffee and fudge, spiced with cinnamon and allspice. Alongside these warming aromas, slight minerality – rock pools and sea breeze and gentle mustiness – damp soils. The addition of water adds creaminess – so now your crumble can have some much needed custard. It also introduces further biscuity and cereal notes – breakfast bars and Kellogg’s Special K.
Taste: A viscous arrival that’s certainly on the sweet-side and packed full of flavours – apples, raspberries, cranberries and blackberries are met by toffee fudge and chocolate sauce. There’s gentle pepperiness, but plenty of cinnamon. Earthiness develops in the mid to back palate, merging with the spices to create a sense of bitterness. Water brings out the underlying mineral aspect as well as pronouncing both chocolate and unctuous red fruits.
Finish: Medium with sugar dusted berried, chocolate and tobacco. A well-judged drying fade.
The five-month Oloroso Octave finish has suited this Bunnahabhain rather well – there’s just the right amount of sherry influence here. Rich, fruity and with plenty of natural sugars – not only is this very tasty, but it’s maintained the underlying distillery character well. My personal favourite of the Bunnahabhain selection of A.D. Rattray Octave Project finishes.
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