Review: Bunnahabhain 23yo/1989 – The Rare Casks/Abbey Whisky


Bunnahabhain 23yo – The Rare Casks / Abbey Whisky.
44% Medium peated.

Light straw in colour.

Similarly light and delicate on the nose, a little citrusy with some lovely smoke notes because of the peat which sits there patiently waiting… It’s a delicate peat, not full on Islay iodine, but a gentle nose inviting you in. There’s some vanillary butter notes holding up the background.

The mouthfeel is pleasingly oily and very gentle, both from the lowish abv and the age. There’s lovely dunnage warehouse notes on the palate (i.e. earthy and damp), along with gentle wafts of peaty smoke and leather bags. You could be forgiven for thinking the gentle peat notes here may also be being bulked up by char from the cask, they may well be.

The finish is a wee warming hug on your chest with just a touch of spices coming through and leaving a sweet medium length ending to what is a quality dram. You could be forgiven for thinking that this is even older than it is.

I always had very high expectations for this dram as I’m a fan of Bunnahabhain, especially peated Bunnas, and although it was slightly different than my expectations (much more gentle than expected), it surpassed them all the same.

This is a quality gentle giant of an Islay that you just can’t go wrong with, it’s a sunset on the beach on a summers eve, leaving you feeling thoroughly relaxed and on top of life. It’s going in my shopping basket, there’s only 96 of them, which is shame for everyone who’ll not get to try this. It’s a contender for one of my top 5 whiskies.

Sample provided by Abbey Whisky. £79.95.

Bunnahabhain 23yo1989

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