Well, on the box they have it as the Bunnahabhain XXV. On the label they put the age in Arabic numerals as well, just to be safe—say this for Bunnahabhain: others may be taking ages off their malts but they put theirs on in two different notations. By either notation this is the oldest official Bunnahabhain I have yet had. I got this from a bottle split—the bottle it came from is at 46.3%, which means it’s post-reboot Bunnahabhain (the reboot happened circa 2011, I believe, but don’t trust me). As to what the actual year of release of this bottle was I’m not sure. This is supposed to have a fair bit of ex-sherry cask whisky in the vatting. This is true of the rebooted 12 yo and 18 yo too, of course, and those are both quite different—I found the sherry in the 12 yo I reviewed to be overbearing and indeed sulphurous, whereas in the 18 yo I reviewed I found the sherry touch to be light and the resultant malt to be balanced with the briny and fruity character of the spirit coming through. Let’s see where on the spectrum this one falls.
Bunnahabhain XXV (46.3%; from a bottle split)
Nose: Raisiny sherry right off the bat, with sweet honey and some tart citrus (orange) coming through from below. Hints of cola as well and a nice maltiness too. After a minute the citrus is more marmaladey and there’s some apricot too. Gets brinier too as it goes. With more time the fruit gets quite intense: the raisiny notes are now closer to red plum; a bit of pipe tobacco too. Nothing new with water.
Palate: A thinner version of everything from the nose with a leafy, almost wood-smoky bite as I swallow. Some milk chocolate here and on the second sip more oak. The texture is a little too thin. As on the nose, the fruit gets more intense with time but never very intense here; and a slight metallic note develops as well. Nothing to report here with water either.
Finish: Medium-long. Gets spicier as it goes and the oak becomes a bit sharper too. Water knocks back the spice and oak and emphasizes the sweeter fruit into the finish.
Comments: Very reminiscent of Highland Park on the nose and very good there. The palate is a bit too thin both in terms of intensity of flavour and mouthfeel, and there’s not much development or complexity, and you sort of want that in an older whisky, I think. This has no flaws but it also has nothing to particularly recommend it over, say, the Highland Park 18 (which even at its now inflated price is quite a bit cheaper than this). And I have to say I preferred my last bottle of the Bunnahabhain 18 to this too.
Rating: 86 points.