Bunnahabhain 44 Single Malts of Scotland Director’s Special

So we’re done now, right? All old Bunnahabhain have yet again been tasted and then gone to an ignoble burial somewhere in my liver and potentially in a fat reserve near my right love handle?

No. We’re never done. Wait, no, that’s too fatalistic. We’re nearly done. That’s more factual and doesn’t have the same pop. I don’t know where I’m going with this, let’s get to the whisky.

So we started with no great Bunnahabhain, and no 40-year-old Bunnahabhain, and now we have some great Bunnahabhain and some 40-year-old Bunnahabhain and two independent bottlers showing what they can do with said whisky.

But what if the last one was just a fluke? I did 2 whiskies from Signatory, should I do 2 from Single Malts of Scotland? Well okay then.

Bunnahabhain 44 Single Malts of Scotland Director’s Special is a year older and we’ve got less information on it. Vintage? Nope. Cask type? No one checked. Single cask? Yes. Anything else? No, do you want to buy it or not?

So what’s left? Since this is an expensive whisky I think we just look at the box and should be impressed. Don’t forget to dust it every so often! Wait… the stuff inside, it’s potable! Let’s drink it! That’s just crazy enough to work!

Let’s dive into this before I try out different types of prose again to fill the void of a lack of information, shall we?

Price: £1,300.00

Region: Islay

Bottled: 2020

Number of bottles: 492

Abv: 42.4%

Colour: 5Y 8/8

Nose: Honeycomb, canned pears, dandelion, light fennel note, hot toffee sauce

Similar floral/honey notes with some wax. Yes, I’m surprised I noticed the wax too, let’s move on from that.

Sweet pear, more floral, light anise, and a strong toffee note that I associate with british pudding. You know when caramel smells stronger because of heat? That. That’s in there. And it’s yummy.

Taste: Lemon thyme, caramel, rice pudding, grassy cream, pretzel

Interesting herbal note with lots of grassy notes that seem to get into everything like that raccoon I fed nothing but meth. Who am I kidding, racoons don’t need meth to get into everything.

Grassy cream – When you have milk from cows that are given good quality grass to eat all the time, some of that grassiness flavour ends up in the cream. That’s what I mean by the flavour continuing.

It’s light and delicate again, though not going as far as the last one. Still quite nice though.

Finish: Black licorice, lemon zest, mineral/gardening, mint, papaya

Simpler on the finish. It’s not a bad finish, there’s some pops of strong earth notes that are nice, and that works alongside the fruit and herbal elements. That said, this is finding out that the great house you bought doesn’t have a basement. It’s not a deal breaker, but where am I going to keep my stuff?

Won’t someone think of the stuff?

Conclusion: A herbal forward dram that really plays with grassy and vegetation notes and brings it to the next level. I didn’t love the finish, in that I didn’t feel it lived up to the rest.

It’s not an easy whisky to pick apart either: The nose was just as good as the previous one, with strong honey notes mixed with lovely toffee and just hints of spice. The taste was a slight step down but still had some nice flavours going on. It’s all very tasty and good, but it doesn’t quite get there.

If you’re able to choose between this and the previous Bunnahabhain, I’d lean towards the 43-year-old. I’m not sad I tried this, and certainly would have a hard time turning down another dram, I just don’t think it delivers as well as the previous release.


Scotch review #1596, Islay review #418, Whisky Network review #2322

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