After a successful first contact via a bottle split – WLP – I simply had to have a bottle. There’s so much ‘whisky talk’ here!
N: In comparison to Balblair’s similar-aged 1991-vintage 27yo I have alongside, this is clearly a grander,.. richer old boy. In isolation, and at first, it’s not so obviously well aged given a youthful spirited sawdusty/resinous/pine needles/straw side, seemingly from a cask re-activation at play which can aide/pleasure yet trick the nasal senses. Once opened out, however, it’s all about the malty [Manuka] honeyed fruits > and flowers with a twist of lemon & grapefruit peel, ginger & carrot cake, > husky coconut & pineapple, metallic raisins,.. the mild resinousness moving into a creamier fustiness later on. At the heel of the bottle, I’m picking out some very mellow [3 sherry butts vs 28 hogsheads] sulphurous notes, famously in keeping with some of Bunnahabhain’s output at the time [1980s], but it’s nay bother and all mixed up within the general pleasurable/desirable stewed nature of things. Simply put, we’ve a charmer that’s been treated with upmost consideration.
T: If there was ever a question over this one’s age on the nose, on the palate, there is little doubt – the spicy-ish activation serving to bolster/lift this one’s long-awaited reveal. [With water] we’ve most agreeable old/oily/greasy, sour > bitter-sweet,… soft yet permeating salty/oaky-malty/ > spicy,.. chilli chocolate!,….. later moving towards a soft/mild yet focused pith-citric [drying lime/lemon > blood orange juice=grapefruit] dry maltiness,.. It’s a long and enriching travel with a phenol hint and some [sherried] ‘flor’ action on the turn.
F: [Eventually] softer but remaining energised and [desirably] salty & vegetal-cellulose-waxy & salivating-dry, [Smarties casings]-malty, and [pithy-dry] citrusy, the consolidated fruity/malty/floral aspect remaining from the nose. Then there’s the [green/Pau D’arco/black/matcha and > fruity/aromatic spicy] teas ,….. a very mild & soft [Polo] menthol suggestion,… tannic-ish, old skool [tobacco] dry permeated [fruity] vanilla…. and heaps of complementary extras. It’s remarkable how the very clean spirited [with a phenolic touch followed by char into ash] this old Bunna is, whilst remaining staunch/forthright,…. [I lose myself to the Thesaurus].
C: This is some masterful blending of 31 casks, and bravo for bottling/keeping this at 49.1% – it’s the strength that made it what it is! Also, it was an absolute bargain when it came out!
Scores 90 points