North Star Spirits – Bunnahabhain 9yr
Bunnahabhain is lovely. Period. It's one of those whisky producers that always hits the spot and doesn't last very long. Even the core range 12yr that's available in supermarkets everywhere is excellent.
The distillery is also lovely. If you get a chance to visit, walking along the jetty and looking out at the view is just stunning, as is stopping by the mountains of casks all stacked up outside looking out over the sea. Ah...that smell!
This one has been bottled by North Star Spirits as part of their cask series 018. Distilled in April 2013 and bottled in April 2022, it's coming in at 9 years old.
And unsurprisingly, it's very big and very yummy.
Appearance: Deep & dark polished walnut
Nose: Prepare your hooter as the following attack is launched on the senses...
Deep sherry, stewed fruit (plums, apples, blackberries), dark chocolate, black cherries, warm & sweaty raisins, toffee apple, maple syrup, and a faint whiff of beeswax polish
Palate: Whoooooosh! If the nose was big, then the taste is verging on seismic. Deep & oily with sweet honey-roasted nuts, a high coco content dark chocolate bite, burnt caramel, plump & sweet raisins, prune juice, deep PX sherry (even though it states it's from an Oloroso hoggie on the label), well-behaved spice, a little oakiness, and some rich boozy fruitcake. Absolutely lovely.
Finish: Very long with a lingering warming sweetness. The dark chocolate stays in the mouth with some spice and sticky singed sweetness like you get from the baked-in, crisped, caramelised & blackened juice that’s leaked over the tin from a baked fruit pie. It all stays in the mouth for an age.
Conclusion: I’ve always been a fan of Bunnahabhain, and this reminds me why. What an absolutely stellar cask pick by Iain Croucher. It just showcases (yet again), that when a Bunna finds itself in an independent bottling, it’s just bloody knockout. And it's only 9 years old, so again, it's a reminder that sub-double digits can be outstanding.