Adelphi Bunnahabhain 18yo Cask #800141 & Infrequent Flyers Bunnahabhain (Staoisha) Cask #800076


Off to Islay as we take a look at two independently bottled releases from Bunnahabhain.. one peated and the other unpeated.

Adelphi Bunnahabhain 18yo Cask #800141

Region: Islay

ABV: 58.2%

Price: £160.00

This release was distilled in 2005, and has spent 18 years maturing in a refill sherry cask. It was bottled by Adelphi in 2023, in an outturn of 155 bottles.

Nose

Initially on the nose there’s fresh raspberries, salted caramel sauce, lime, cucumber, cashew nuts, and hay. It’s easy to get your nose right into the glass and it’s surprising how we barely notice the alcohol given the ABV. Going back to it after air and there’s notes of butterscotch, icing sugar, green apples and vanilla ice cream.

Palate

There’s lots of citrus on the palate that we didn’t find on the nose, oranges, limes, lemonade and along with it apples, and caramel. The alcohol is well balanced and appears as a pleasant cinnamon spice on the palate. The finish is a good length with the above notes lingering. The mouthfeel is good too. Going back to it we’re also getting notes of salt, orange rind and dark chocolate biscuits.

Nose (with water)

Water brings out more of that citrus on the nose in the form of lime juice and lemon peel. There’s more caramel here thats turning into a treacle toffee, along with a slight mustiness, and some vinegar. Really this is just a lovely well aged whisky.

Palate (with water)

The mouthfeel remains good, but it’s touch more spicy with water, almost like this was in a toasted oak cask. There’s more cinnamon, banana foster, some caramel, graphite and pebbles. It still has a good length finish, but there’s a little bitterness showing now. Personally we’d skip water.

Conclusion

Adelphi rarely disappoint, and this is another dram that continues that trend. Good quality whisky in a good quality cask. It’s an easy 7.5 for us.

Score: 7.5/10

Value

When you consider that the core range 18 is around £120 then a cask strength 18yo at £160 isn’t that bad.


Infrequent Flyers Bunnahabhain (Staoisha) Cask #800076

Region: Islay

ABV: 55.7%

Price: £91.00

Next up a 2013 vintage Bunnahabhain that has spent 9 years maturing in a 1st fill Pedro Ximenez Puncheon. It was bottled in 2023, in an outturn of 691 bottles.

Nose

The nose is just what you expect from this, there’s lots of smoke, burning wood, red apples, pears, cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, and cherries. Like the Adelphi release we’re not noticing the alcohol here. Going back to it and there’s also raisins, Irn Bru, caramel, Jamaican ginger cake and orange oil.

Palate

It’s definitely peated and has a nice medicinal kick to it. It’s a little spicy for us with cinnamon, and cardamom, that transitions into some smoke from ash and burnt wood, red grapes, dark chocolate, bran flakes, and a pleasant sweetness from brown sugar. It’s got a good length finish with orange, cinnamon and ginger snaps lingering. The mouthfeel reminds us of creamy milk chocolate.

Nose (with water)

Reduction brings out crisp breads, corn, treacle, lemon, slight clove, tar, yeast. It’s lost some of its smoke, but the trade off is that it’s become more medicinal. We’re also finding some of the richer darker sherry notes are reduced. Notes of fennel seeds, and caramel appear as we sit with it.

Palate (with water)

It’s now slightly more bitter from blood orange, there’s also soil, charred oak, burnt toast, bacon crisps, dill, rehydrated prunes and raisins. It’s spicier with water like we’ve added cardamom and cinnamon instead of H2O. The mouth feel remains good, and the finish is still a good length with sherry and smoke note’s lingering.

Conclusion

Personally we prefer this without water. Undiluted it’s a great example of peated Bunnah in sherry. Usually when we review whiskies alongside an Adelphi bottling, the Adelphi is the clear winner, but this time we’re calling it a tie.

Score: 7.5/10

Value

The price definitely hurts the wallet slightly given the release is only 9 years old, but saying that we bought a bottle.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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