Bunnahabhain 25 year old is the pinnacle of the distillery’s core range. Already well regarded when it was bottled at 43% like the 12 and 18 year olds, it moved to a new regime of higher ABVs (46.3%), non-chill filtering and natural colouring in 2011. Hoorah. The bottling comes in a very solid alder wood box with hessian lining and brass latches – whilst we’re not here to champion packaging (liquid is our purview), it’s a suitably stylish container for a high-end expression.
Nose: Subtle and needing some time to relax and show its true colours, so give it some breathing space. Pronounced orange peels, nectarines and hedgerow berries are joined by leather bound books, sultanas and dates, and wood lacquer. Sweet notes from ginger snap biscuits. Bitter notes from dark chocolate and savoury notes from roasted nuts – this covers all the bases. Refined.
Taste: There we go. Full-bodied and highly expressive. Now 25+ years of wood is coming out in full force – old furniture, polishes and lacquers, wood saps and resins. You’re under no false perceptions about the age of this whisky. Spicing is also dialled up here with cinnamon and cardamon and also a vague back palate taste of charred oak. The sherried nature of this whisky is not forgotten with chocolates, fudges, raisins and smouldering golden tobaccos all very much in play.
Finish: Long and fading from sharp spices into sweet sherried flavours with some slight astringency.
Bunnhabhain 25 year old is elegant and indulgent. It offers superb balance, vibrant fruit and pronounced aged sherry flavours. Of course, none of this sounds like it comes cheaply, and it doesn’t – around £325 is the current toll for this crackerjack bottling. But, if you’re looking for an extravagance, this comes with a hearty Dramble recommendation – pour, rest, then kick back and enjoy!