Batch 22?! Wowzers. That’s quite the volume of Bunnahabhain. But then again, the distillery is one whose appeal and reach has grown substantially and whose production volume - Islay-whisky-wise - is only surpassed by that of Laphroaig and Caol Ila. There’s both a lot of Bunna and a lot of Bunna fans. This also plays out across our coverage on The Dramble – this being our 46th Bunnahabhain review. Wowzers. The distillate crosses my desk more frequently than most – and indeed, I count myself amount that fandom – though perhaps not quite as zealously as some.
Bunnahabhain is spirit which I feel works at an impressively broad range of ages whilst similarly performing ably in both unpeated or peated (which is termed ‘Moine’ by the distillery and more recently in its younger guises ‘Staoisha’ by indy bottlers) styles. I find it to be a highly versatile spirit that can impressive just as well bottled young and crisp as bottled old and austere.
Bunna has appeared several times before in the Boutique-y Whisky Advent calendar. Door No. 16 in this year’s edition offers up the youngest to date – and indeed, as far as I’m aware, the youngest bottled by Boutique-y.
The 22nd batch is a 10 year old release of 1,161 bottles produced at 50.1% ABV. And whilst not openly specified, it’s a sherried number. The expressions appears to be produced for the German market – least that’s the only place where I can find it currently for sale. As of writing, it's available for a discounted 60 Euros from Whisky Maniac. Not too shabby.
Nose: Bakery vs. confectionery. Nut bread and malt loaf plays off against Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut and Terry’s Dark Chocolate Orange. Sour oranges, macerated cherries and blackberries provide a fruity core, whilst lightly salted peanuts and chopped walnuts again reinforce some nutty oloroso-ness. Dilution offers walnut whip creaminess alongside crunchy toffee and crackerbread.
Taste: An oily mouthfeel that glides across the palate - and a broadly similar profile to that of the nose. Chocolate orange, burnt toffee and overdone honeycomb are joined by hazelnuts, walnuts and a glug of olive oil. Crème caramel provides some creaminess to the body, whilst sappy oak and brown sugars are joined by a growing back-palate pepperiness. Reduction presents a much tarter experience with over-caramelised toffee apple and soured orange juice alongside a slice of stem ginger.
Finish: Medium with drying oakiness and increasingly bitter dark chocolate.
Boutique-y’s Bunnahabhain 10 Batch 22 combines nutty oloroso notes with rich fruits and delectable chocolate-tness. It’s entirely appropriate for the season. There’s some tautness in the back-palate and finish which in turn delivers too much astringency for my personal liking – but your mileage may vary depending on how dry you like your drams.
OCD Whisky is similarly covering the Boutique-y Whisky Company’s 2020 Advent calendar if you're looking for an alternative viewpoint.
Review calendar provided by Atom Brands