Bunnahabhain 25, 1991 (Old Particular for K&L)

On to review #3 of K&L’s recent single cask releases, and the oldest one so far. As you may recall, the first was a Bowmore 20, 1997, bottled by Douglas Laing’s Old Particular, and I quite liked that one. The second was a Mortlach 22, 1995 bottled under K&L’s own Faultline label (the cask came from Alexander Murray). I did not have much of an opinion of that one. Will this Bunnahabhain, also bottled by Old Particular, get things back on track? Like the Mortlach 22, it’s priced very well—I should say “was”, as it’s already sold out: $160, I believe. Considering the lowest price for the OB 25 yo on WineSearcher is $342, that seems like a very good deal indeed. But, as we saw with the Mortlach, age isn’t everything. Paying a relatively low price for an older whisky isn’t much of a steal if the whisky in the bottle isn’t very good. Older Bunnahabhain can be very good indeed, however, so I am hopeful. Let’s see how it goes. 

Bunnahabhain 25, 1991 (49.5%; Old Particular; sherry cask; from a bottle split)

Nose: Honey, mild toffee, golden raisins. On the second sniff there’s a fair bit of orange peel and some oak (not too obtrusive). Gets saltier as it sits. With more time, the orange peel expands, as does the toffee. A few drops of water bring out even more of the orange and more of the honey.

Palate: The oak is far more present here. It’s s not too tannic or too spicy but it’s the top note, covering up the mellower stuff from the nose. The texture is fine. With more air and time, the orange peel begins to emerge and brings some apricot with it. The fruit continues to expand and now there’s some dark chocolate as well. Water pulls out a bit more oak again but it works with the richer fruit now in evidence.

Finish: Medium-long. The oak fades out, the salt pops back out and there’s some coffee grounds at the end. The fruit shows up here too with time. As on the palate with water.

Comments: This is very nice on the nose from the get-go. On the palate, the wood is a bit too talkative at first, but with time and air it mellows out and lets the richer notes emerge. Certainly a much better deal at $150 than the OB 25 yo; though I’m not entirely sure I’d take it at that price over the cheaper OB 18 yo. Actually, the whisky it most reminds me of is the OB Highland Park 18.

Rating: 88 points.

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