Bunnahabhain 11yo No.3212 & Bunnahabhain 7yo Explorations series Staoisha Cask #10411A


A little treat today as we look at a pair of Bunnahabhain’s in sherry. We don't often see Manzanilla maturations so we're excited to see what this has done with the bunnah's spirit. 

Bunnahabhain 11yo No.3212

Region: Islay

ABV: 54.2%

Price: £35.00 (for 350ml)

This Bunnahabhain distillery exclusive spent 11 years in a Manzanilla sherry cask.

Nose

A deep, nutty initial aroma. It's dry, wood shavings, caramel shortcake, damp cardboard, along with light baking spices. Very well balanced on the nose, the sweetness, drier aromas and alcohol are all playing well together. After some air we're finding salted caramel, and a lovely salinity coming from the coastal air around Bunnahabhain's warehouse 9. There's also some milk chocolate and treacle.

Palate

We're finding roasted nuts, honey roasted peanuts, toffee crisp chocolate bar, along with a little maltiness. There's a good amount of salt on the palate, but it's balanced well with nutmeg, cinnamon, a little citrus and white pepper. The mouthfeel is nice, it's not overly textured but not thin either, and the finish has a good length with dark treacle, molasses and charred oak. After some air, we're finding milky coffee and liquorice.

Nose (with water)

Water brings out a slightly sweeter, vanilla aroma that is a nice addition to the existing nuttier, drier nose. We're getting more chocolate now, more caramel, toffee.. and a little sea salt too. We're enjoying the nose both with and without water.

Palate (with water)

We're finding more of a citrus flavour initially, lots of zesty lemon appearing, following into some sweeter vanilla custard with some almond marzipan too. With a little more air there's more oak, a touch of dry apricot and sultanas.

Conclusion

We're seeing more of these drier Fino/Manzanilla maturations (as opposed to oloroso/PX), and this one works wonderfully with the Bunnahabhain spirit. It takes us back to drinking some great sherries, but adds an interesting coastal, maltiness to the flavour profile. You may find it a little more challenging if you prefer a sweeter dram, but we're big fans of this.

Score: 8/10


Bunnahabhain 7yo Explorations series Staoisha Cask #10411A

Region: Islay

ABV: 61.3%

Price: £85

This peated Bunna was matured for 7 years in a refill PX hogshead that had previously held Laphroaig.

Nose

Peat, and lots of it. It's got a slight rubbery tinge, salted peanuts and a strong, herbal rosemary note. Quite a powerful, peppery nose too, the alcohol is very present and visible, although it feels a little like a tug of war with the peat smoke. After some air we're getting a hint of nutmeg, dry earth and some red fruit notes that are hiding quite far in the background.

Palate

Again, very forward with the peat flavour. There's a nice citrus note here, lime, a touch of orange that gives the dram a freshness, following into burnt caramel, salt water and a nice herbaceousness. There's a fair bit of alcohol here, that's to be expected with 61% ABV, but there's enough flavour behind it to keep this in reasonable balance. The mouthfeel is nice, it's got an oily, thick feel leading into a lingering finish with raisins, nutmeg and burnt wood.

Nose (with water)

A slight BBQ meatiness appears, smoked meats, sweeter red berries and malt. The alcohol has mellowed, but still makes itself known. In a similar vein, the peat smoke has also mellowed giving a little more room for burnt honey, charred pineapple and pepper.

Palate (with water)

The initial peat feels more refined, and then goes onto fill the palate during the finish. It's saltier, with similar amounts of zingy lime and deep earthy flavours. It retains the oily mouthfeel, but we get slightly less complexity as the dram lingers on.

Conclusion

This is a powerful dram, one that fills the room with heavy peat aromas before the first dram is even poured. It's young and a little rough around the edges, but we know that's something that a lot of people love. We're not getting too much of the PX from the ex-Laphroaig cask, there's a hint of raisin in there, but the combination of the Staoisha and Laphroaig peat levels has worked in our opinion. It's a touch pricey at £85 and not for everyone, so we'll give it a 7/10, but if you're a peat fiend you’ll probably appreciate this more.

Score: 7/10

  • 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
  • 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
  • 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
  • 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
  • 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
  • 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
  • 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
  • 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
  • 2 - Pour it out
  • 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.

    Interested in trying drams like these? We've created the Two Whisky Bros Dram Club to help you get access to high quality, rare whisky by the dram.

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