Bunnahabhain 28 Year Old, 48.1%, ABV, Blackadder Raw Cask series
This is my review of our fourth bottle from Blackadder’s “Raw Cask” series which bottles whisky directly from the cask- without any mechanical filtering of the charred cask sediments and wood flakes.
The fourth bottle is a 28 year old Bunnahabhain that had been matured in an oak hogshead cask, before a period of finishing in a sherry cask. Is this still considered a “single cask whisky” since two casks have been used? Arguably so since the whisky derived from one hogshead.
Despite coming from the Islay region, Bunnahabhain is known for its lighter, least peaty whiskies. This is due to the fact that peaty water is not available to Bunnahabhain Distillery, and that there are fewer peatlands available to harvest.
This results in one of the most easy-to-drink Islay single malts with its sweet, very lightly-peated profile and smooth texture.
In the glass, a chestnut brown colour.
On the nose, sweet, multi-dimensional and well-rounded. This opens with subtle sticky date pudding notes, then moves closer towards Hong Kong brown sugar steamed cake (ma lai ko) slathered with butter.
This is accompanied by lashings of some dark honey, cinnamon bun and milky caramel notes.
After airing this for a bit, a slight nuttiness from the European sherry oak begins to reveal itself with some roasted hazelnut and walnut aromas.
The aroma texture is clean, smooth and well-rounded with no prickliness, medicinal notes or astringency whatsoever. There are no notes of peat at all unlike its Islay siblings from other distilleries.
On the palate, smooth, moderate and harmonious. Immediately after a first sip, you really notice the refreshing velvety texture before anything else. This is followed by a growing delicate floral sweetness which is accompanied by very slight earthiness and tannins; it’s really comparable to drinking an English tea bundled with dried flower petals. A minor component of fresh red fruits such as raspberries and rainier cherries.
Towards the back of the palate, the sweetness takes on a slightly orange liqueur character so that when accompanied with the earthiness, it feels like the chocolatey-orangey aftertaste of eating Grand Marnier orange liqueur truffles.
(Image Source: Bomboy’s Candy)
Remarkably well-balanced sweetness and earthiness that leaves the palate feeling refreshed.
The finish is medium length with fading rainier cherry sweetness and some orange truffle aftertaste. A little bit of heat is revealed with some candied ginger, and sprinkling of star anise and cardamon.
Very intriguing flavours and very stimulating complexity. Many Scotches from the Islay region tend to be heavy, blunt and powerful.
This Bruichladdich falls on the other end of the spectrum. This is refreshing, delicate and moderate and once again very much like drinking a cuppa at a tea house. You would love this if you are a tea drinker.
I can't get the Grand Marnier chocolate orange liqueur truffles out of my mind.
Pair this with a rich sticky date pudding when you are having high tea, and you get an excellent companion whisky that accentuates the caramelised sugar in the pudding but is refreshing enough to balance out the cloying sweetness.
If this sounds like something you’d like, check out the Blackadder shelf at INTERCO’s online store.