Bunnahabhain 13 Marsala Finish

Bunnahabhain 13 Marsala Finish 2.jpg

Thanks to /u/Davyj0ne5 for the sample

Welcome to my new ongoing series, “Bunna-have you any more sir?”, in which I go through my backlog of way, WAY too many Bunnahabhains and review them.

Alright, we took a break from OB Bunnahabhain with IB Bunnahabhain, and now we’re back to OB Bunnahabhain.

It’s like a surprise warm bath, if you had really hot baths every day.

Enough about my general royalty like cleanliness habits though, we’re onto something that should be different.

Bunnahabhain 13 Marsala Finish has been aged for 10 years in ex-bourbon, as is the standard. It’s also non-peated, as is the standard as well. However in the normal case they don’t finish it for three years in ex-Marsala wine casks. They don’t finish it for any years for that matter.

For those of you like me that think that wine is that thing you have to drink when the bar is lacking or the family is having a rough Xmas and you need just a little bit of help. Marsala, from what I’ve read, is sweet and savoury and comes from Italy.

So we have a wine finish on a whisky. A wine my only reaction to is a roommate pouring it in my pasta cream sauce and me not enjoying it too much. Granted that could have been my cream sauce, come to think of it.

So let’s see how it tastes in my whisky! At least I didn’t have anything to do with the original ten years on this one, so maybe it’ll solve some mysteries.

Bunnahabhain 13 Marsala Finish 1.jpg

Price: N/A at the LCBO

Region: Islay

Cask Finish: Marsala

Abv: 46.3%

Colour: 2.5Y 7/10

Nose: Sour pear, caramel, oak, brown butter, pecan

Initial nose is interesting. It’s taken well to the wine, and it takes some time to tease out the original ex-bourbon influence.

Takes brown butter and pecans quite nicely. And the acidity of the wine amps it up. I’ve heard adding lemon juice to something when you think there’s not enough salt does similar wonders. So there’s your tip for the day.

Taste: Brown butter, floral, pecan pie, pear

So the wine has added a floral and pear element, and the bourbon cask has added strong buttery notes and a big nutty flavour.

However there’s something missing. Something that should be there but isn’t. It’s certainly rich and creamy, just… something I can’t put my finger on.

Finish: Brown butter, pear, dry ginger, hoppy

Again, a nice fatty, nutty, and floral finish. Beer drinkers will enjoy it more than me, as the floral element has taken on more of a hoppy element.

Dry again. Also that missing element hasn’t popped up yet.

Conclusion: Needs brine. That’s what it’s missing. I spent awhile sipping on this, thinking that it needed salt. It has acidity, which is nice and almost does something similar. But it’s dry, missing the Bunnahabhain element of salt.

So I think Bunnahabhain 13 Marsala Finish re-teaches us an important lesson: Never try to invade Russia in the winter.

Wait, no, the other one: Always include salt with the sugar. This was missing that. It’s overall tasty, but simple. Nice to sip on, nice to have something different.


Scotch review #874, Islay review #217, Whisky Network review #1395

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