Review: Bunnahabhain 11 Years Old 2004 Rubha a’ Mhail Feis Ile 2015

Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky

Origin: Bunnahabhain Distillery

Bottling: Distell

ABV: 57.4%

Cost: £150

Bunnahabhain Rubha a mhail

What they say:

Bunnahabhain Rubha a’ Mhail was distilled in 2004 and aged in Spanish Manzanilla sherry butts, #550 & #554. Aged for 11 years and bottled for the Feis Ile 2015, Rubha a’ Mhail (pronounced rooaval) is named after a modern day Helmsman’s tale. In October 1974, finding no berth in Oban, the Wyre Majestic and her sister ship, the Defence, attempted to steam to Fleetwood, north of Blackpool. Along the journey, the trawler strayed off course and hit the rocks at Rubha A’ Mhail. For 11 long days, the skipper stayed aboard attempting to free the vessel, but the Majestic sits stricken on the rocks at Bunnahabhain to this day.

Originally filled in Spanish Manzanilla sherry butts, Rubha A’ Mhail slowly matured in Warehouse No. 3. For 11 years, the full aromas and wood influences have complemented the signature Bunnahabhain flavours of sweet, rich fruit, toasted nuts and hints of sea salt to produce an expression with a rich tapestry of flavours.

Alison Gibb, Global Brand Manager at Burn Stewart, said:
“Both of these limited edition expressions embody the unique character of Bunnahabhain and highlight the importance of the Islay Festival. The event celebrates everything that is special to the island, home of Bunnahabhain, and we hope that festival-goers who visit the distillery will enjoy what we have created this year.”

What I say:

From Moxies’s Tasting with Moxie – a Festivus for the rest of us.

Colour:

Autumn leaves & amber gold (14/20) long medium legs

Nose:

Nutty, marmite malt extract on toasted wholewheat bread. treacle toffee, sourdough (Herman) and rye bread, yeasty, meaty bbq beaf, fizzy and zesty sherry, plum, marzipan and leather.

Taste:

Warming, mixed nut and dried fruits (trail mix), dates, figs, almonds, rich and sugary, molasses, treacle, salt caramel, malty, Parkin cake, bready, sourdough and rye bread and a little spiced gingerbread, dirty engine or machine oil, slightly carbolic soap and mineralic & rubbery (natural)

Finish:

Long, dirty, dusty, chewy old leather, walnuts and woody sugars

Overall:

Very nice, a slight thin-ness to some areas of the palate but only because the flavours a re so powerful I was expecting a greater syrupy feel to this, still mouthcoating. I could happily drink a lot more of this one!

Score: 89/100

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