So I found the great and epic Bunnahabhain releases. Which brings me up to 50+ something Bunnahabhains. However I did miss a specific group during this particular review extravaganza: More peated Bunnahabhain.
Bunnahabhain is typically unpeated. There’s a bit of peat in there, however in post from 4 years ago they stated the small amount of PPM is due to trace elements. Right from the horse’s mouth, if you will, unless that post is a lie.
However every so often a heavily peated Bunnahabhain shows up. It’s called Moine or Margadale or just “Peated” or “Heavily Peated” and sticks out like an unpeated Caol Ila.
The previous Bunnahabhain in this run up were unpeated. But could the trick to finding a great Bunnahabhain be peat? Maybe, though I hadn’t found it yet.
Enter Bunnahabhain 9 2010 Mòine Feis Ile 2020. First off, did you notice the Mòine? If you did, give yourself a gold star and a nap, you done good.
So this is a peated Bunnahabhain with an Amontillado Sherry finish, vatted in preparation for Feis Ile 2020, the local festival of Jazz and Scotch on Islay. In other words, the whisky was originally bought by someone with the plan to sell it at auction.
Ouch, my bitter angst is showing. If you went to Feis Ile and had fun, that’s okay. I’m just saying there’s an element of people using it to flip.
But was this worth flipping, or drinking? Let’s see, shall we?
Vintage: December 2, 2010
Bottled: January 24, 2020
Cask type: Amontillado Sherry Finish
Number of bottles: 1,658
Colour: 2.5YR 4/10
Nose: Tar, sultanas, mint chocolate, anise cookie, goldenrod
The initial blast of tar tells me one thing: I still live well above street level and keep my windows closed. Also it’s peated.
Strong, rich notes from the Amontillado: Less acidic, more rich, some spice, some cereal that changes to be a bit more vegetal with time and water, and this lovely strong cocoa/mint note that I’ve been digging lately.
That reminds me, I should pick up some neon green ice cream at some point.
Taste: Beer nuts, strawberry syrup, anise, dried apricot, plum sauce
Very thick mouthfeel. Goes with the flavours, which are rich, fruity, tangy, sometimes very sweet, and nutty. Bit of salt there, no strong “hey, it’s simple peat” notes, more so anise herbal notes.
I added that part for the people who get annoyed when I don’t just say “smoke” on a peated whisky. You know, morons.
Finish: Roast fennel, brine, lime sorbet, Mexican hot chocolate
More black licorice, brine, and some strong cocoa vibes. It takes some time for the full cocoa plus heat plus spice to really come together, but it’s worth the wait.
This is a very nice whisky. I can see why they released it for the special whisky of the year.
Conclusion: Proper mix of sherry and peat notes, good anise backbone, and punches way above its age. This is what Laphroaig’s Feis Ile from 2014 (it was also Amontillado sherry) should have been. I even reviewed my old review of the Laphroaig and can frankly say I prefer this, which is impressive as nostalgia glasses are on everyone’s faces.
So should you hunt down one of the bottles? Yes, yes you should. This is a surprise whisky and there must have either been a global fluctuation in whisky nerds wallets or it was overlooked because others must have been really, really good. Or maybe they released 1,600+ bottles! This is a very nice release and should be celebrated, so I’d say grab it.
Scotch review #1598, Islay review #420, Whisky Network review #2324