This is the second of three Scott’s Selection releases from 2004 that I split with friends when Binny’s put them on a clearance sale a couple of months ago. I’ve already reviewed the Auchentoshan 1983-2004. The oldest of the three, the Glenlivet 1977-2004 is yet to come—though I’m constantly being warned against it.
I *think* that I might actually have tried this Bunnahabhain before. I have a vague memory of it being the malt, a small pour of which led off one of the tastings my friend Rich put together a couple of years ago. If so, I have an even vaguer memory of liking it then. As with all Scott’s Selection releases, there’s very little information out there on this one—no detail on cask type and very few reviews (though it does have a very good rating on Whiskybase). Anyway, let’s see what it’s like.
Bunnahabhain 1988-2004 (53.8%; Scott’s Selection; from a bottle split)
Nose: Very mild, slightly rubbery peat off the top, citrus and brine below that. The peat expands a bit as it sits but so does the brine—after a couple of minutes it’s really quite salty. With time the sweeter fruit from the palate starts popping up on the nose too, as does some vanilla; still quite peaty. Water pushes back the peat and dials up the fruit: sweet lime soda, then berries and cream.
Palate: Much sweeter here to start (apples) but the peat comes in right behind (in the peppery/mineral/hot tarmac family), with some pepper and the citrus following. The fruit gets more tart and then musky with time (lime, tinned pineapple) and there’s a slightly chalky development (or it might just be sourer apple notes). Nice texture. As on the nose with water, though the citrus is now zestier.
Finish: Long. The pepper and fruit linger and there’s a hint of cocoa on the back-end. The cocoa turns into full-on milk chocolate with time and the fruit has the same progression as on the palate. Sweeter with water but there’s lime zest here too now.
Comments: A little peatier than expected but in many other ways this is classic Bunnahabhain with the brine and tart-sweet fruit—and there’s some overlap with the classic Springbank profile as well. I wish I’d bought a full bottle at the sale price—this is a real easy drinker. Oh, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this were said to be a refill sherry cask.
Rating: 87 points.