Bunnahabhain 39 1976 Cadenheads Small Batch

Bunnahabhain 39 Cadenheads 1.jpg

Thanks to /u/xile_ for sharing this one with us.

And we hit the end of the tasting. The tasting, I might add, that was a decent length, had multiple breaks, and tons of water in between. This is the maximum amount of drams I would do, given the length, and taped out after this one.

So this one was handed to me with no background, only that it was a mystery as it’ll make me confused and it’ll be in my wheelhouse.

Which honestly, after 1100+ reviews, my wheelhouse is weird. Like it was decorated by a rock star and designed by someone on hallucinogens.

So let’s see how well I did in figuring this last one out, eh?

Price: N/A

Region: Islay

Vintage: 1976

Cask Type: 3 Sherry Butts

Total Bottles: 648 bottles

Abv: 49.4%

Colour: 5YR 6/10

Nose: Honey, wood, green tobacco, butterscotch, leather, sesame

Lighter, forest focused. That’s the only way I can explain the start. It’s light, but there’s a quality here that I’m not used to. It’s not overly complex, but… yeah, something keeps making me scratch my head.

Initial thought is “What the shit?” For those of you wondering, multiple witnesses heard me say that, if that helps.

Taste: Raisin, peach, smoke, brown sugar, oak, papaya, tea

Definitely PX sherry here. Lots of rain, brown sugar, and some tannins. Really good casks too, and some oak influence.

My initial thought is this is 10-14 years old, however the richness of the dram and the distinct flavours as well as some discussion with others made me change my answer. Time develops more and more here.

Finish: Brown sugar, orange, peach, honey, musty oak

Again, there’s a mustiness here that is confusing me. I’d normally say this was just a really nice single cask that had some PX influence. However… Damn, the mustiness is nice.

I’m liking this one. I won’t say it’s an amazing dram, however it has an element that clicks the upvotes in my brain.

Conclusion: My guess was a 20+ year PX sherry matured… something. There’s some smoke, but not a lot, and that could be a really good cask.

I think this is proof that a cask can give some really good notes but not amp up the dram. Or perhaps the dram never reacted enough. Or maybe this is another dram that needs a lot of time opened.

In the end, I opened the final box and found out it was a 39 year old Bunnahabhain made up of 3 casks. So I was wrong about single cask, and kinda right about the age? I may re-review this one after it’s had some time to oxidize. It was a really strong flavour overall, and I think that bourbon fans would enjoy it for those reasons.

Heck, it has that old sherry cask influence of leather and rich, raisin/plum sweet notes. So it’s a no brainer if you like that.


Guess: “What the shit?” PX cask, 20+ year PX sherry matured.

Actually: Bunnahabhain 39 1976 Cadenheads Small Batch

Bunnahabhain 39 Cadenheads 2.jpg

Scotch review #698, Islay review #152, Whisky Network reviews #1159

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