Bunnahabhain

Bunnahabhain 9 Years Old 2006/2017 (60.4%, SMWS, 10.108 Yin and Yang, Heavy Toast Medium Char HH, 282 Bottles)

Whisky Review: SMWS 10.108 Yin and Yang

  • Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky
  • Origin: Bunnahbhain distillery
  • Bottling: SMWS, Cask 10.108 Yin and Yang
  • ABV: 60.4%
  • Cost: £sold out

SMWS Cask 10.108 Yin and Yang

What they say

  • Age 9 Years
  • Date Distilled 1st December 2006
  • Cask Type Virgin Heavy Toast Medium Char Oak Hogshead
  • Region Islay
  • Outturn 1 of 282 bottles
  • ABV 60.4%
  • Colour Brass doorknobs

Official tasting notes:

The nose wafts drifting bonfire smoke, a 1960’s night-watchman’s billy can of tea, singed heather, smoked almonds, prawn tempura and barbecued pulled pork. The palate is a yin and yang of sweet and smoke – Tunnock’s Caramel Log, Toffifee and dark chocolate, with dry peat smoke, coastal air, lavender oil, tobacco leaf, ash and embers. The reduced nose gets wintergreen muscle rub, first aid boxes, root beer and Arbroath smokies. On the palate, water tames the smoke somewhat – sweet chilli, cigar smoke, rock-pools and carbolic. After 9 years in ex-bourbon wood we transferred this into a virgin oak hogshead.

What I say

A heavily peated Bunnahabhain ‘Margadale’ spirit matured for 9 years mostly in ex-Bourbon but with a little bit of tinkering by SMWS who finished this is a virgin oak hogshead.

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Golden yellow (6/20), medium, oily tears and fine legs
  • Nose: Milky and lactic initially, milk bottle sweeties, new make and vanilla, cream, egg custard, peat smoke, mineralic and chalky, ash, bbq prawns, sea salt, smoked mussels or scallops, sweet.
  • Taste: Creamy toffee, caramel, vanilla, tar, peat, salted caramel, treacle toffee, bbq banana, quite soapy in texture, oily too on the palate, chocolate, reduced with water this revealed more sweet caramel, mossy and earthy peat, shellfish, salty and sweet and mineralic calcium.
  • Finish: Long, sweet and smoky and partly medicinal like germolene or wintergreen rub

Overall

Definitely young but with some interest, a complexity that seems to be mostly spirit-driven, with lots of shellfish, brine, sweet and smoky influences but also a mineralic character and soapy texture – perhaps an indication of the wood tinkering. Pretty good whisky all in but I suspect it may have been a lot better un-tinkered and matured a little (or a lot) longer.

Score 84/100

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