Thanks to /u/Catharticintent 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, my slow push to try different Bunnahabhains in order to find one that’s either bad (and oh, I found it) or amazing (not just yet), we’re onto the famous Berry’s Brothers. And why are they famous? Cause they had a shipment on the Titanic.
Oh, and they’ve been around for a long time, supplying the people of England (and therefore the world, peasant!) with many libations, especially ones not made in England.
So this is a first fill ex-bourbon 24 year old cask strength Bunnahabhain, or as it’s called to friends, Bunnahabhain 26 1987 Berry’s Brothers & Rudd.
Oh, and there’s certain whiskies that change a lot with water. I’ve historically called them awesome, because… they were awesome (dammit Peasant! Write better – editor).
Let’s see if this follows that idea, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Aged: 26 years
Cask Type: First fill ex-bourbon hogshead
Cask Ref. 2447
Colour: 2.5Y 7/10
Nose: White wine vinegar, pear, grass clippings, burnt caramel, floral
Water brings out the floral notes. And it needs it. Otherwise it just has some vinegar and pear. Oh, and what feels like when you play on the lawn after it’s been freshly cut.
For those of you who didn’t have lawns (hello fellow Torontonians) growing up, it sucks. You get grass in your mouth. And not in that “legalize it soon” good way.
Taste: Brine, lime, perfume, caramel | Lime milkshake, chocolate truffle
Water is needed to bring out any complexity.
So, without water, it’s brine, lime, and that one Grade 4 teacher I had who thought that bottles of perfume are used up weekly. Lots of perfume. And you can taste it.
Then water is added, and it’s all lime milkshakes and chocolate truffles. It’s so good with water. Total Jerkyl and Hyde, if Hyde was more complex and less murdery.
Finish: Vegetal/grassy, quince, oak, pepper | Cloves, cinnamon, mineral water
So again, vegetal/grassy, tons of perfume fruit, and heat. The big oak first fill punches you in your genitals, or anywhere else that hurts.
Then water comes in, and you expect it to help, and it just…. gives you some spice and mineral. Nothing really going on.
Conclusion: Needs water. Badly. Seriously, of all the drams to release at cask strength, don’t release this one at cask strength. The alcohol, in this one case, isn’t helping.
Once water is added, it’s less floral, more complexity on the taste, and the finish is still boring. Really a confusing dram. I think I enjoyed more of the taste. And didn’t mine the nose once water was added. I don’t know, try this before you buy, it’s confusing.
Scotch review #878, Islay review #221, Whisky Network review #1399