It was not so long ago that older Bunnahabhains of a high quality were easily found at reasonable prices from reputable bottlers. For example, at release this bottle did not cost very much more than the OB 18 yo costs now. Back then it was possible for middle-class buyers like me to purchase older whiskies and get some understanding of how maturation affects the character of whisky from a particular distillery or how the profiles of whiskies made at the same distillery in different eras vary. If I was at the point in this whisky obsession now that I was at in 2012, I would not be able to afford that experience—if I could even find it. For more in this tedious vein you might want to (re)read my post on older whisky and value in the current era and the many excellent comments on it (here). For now, however, here’s a review of a 31 yo Bunnahabhain from 1980. This was released by Whisky-Doris. I opened and finished the bottle last year and took my notes then too. I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to post them. Continue reading
I reviewed an antique Ledaig from Alambic Classique last month, and mentioned in the review that while younger Ledaigs do not generally have good reputations I’ve recently had a few good ones from some indie bottlers. This is one of those, a 9 yo from a sherry butt, bottled by Whisky Doris. I don’t know if there’s been any sort of change in the production process/cask selection regime at Tobermory/Ledaig or if it’s just the case that more single casks are coming on the market but the malt’s reputation seems to be on the upswing.
Highland Park is, as I have noted before, generally associated with maturation in sherry casks. To find a bourbon cask matured Highland Park you have to go to the independents, and among the independents too it can be hard to find ex-bourbon releases (especially in the US, where we seem to mostly get refill sherry bottlings, usually from Signatory). The bottle I am reviewing tonight is from a German bottler/online store with the wonderful name of Whisky-Doris, owned by one Doris Debbeler–I don’t know if her friends call her Whisky Doris, but I hope they do: I can think of very few better honorifics.