A couple of newer Dramfool releases today, both full maturation PX casks which we don't see too often.
Dramfool 66th release Bunnahabhain 15yo
Distilled 9th March 2007, this release spent its life maturing in a first fill Pedro Ximénez Hogshead for 15 years before being bottled 4th July 2023. 270 bottles were released.
On the nose, we’re met with a mixture of salty sea air and cherry cola, torched figs, toasted hazelnuts and dusty antique furniture. It’s relatively restrained at first, but seems to open up with a little air, and we’re now getting some strawberry laces, coriander seeds, floral fabric softener and something a little herbal too.
The palate opens with a real red fruit sweetness, a lot of that cherry cola we got on the nose, alongside raspberry coulis, milk chocolate and maldon sea salt crystals. There’s also a fair bit of that PX influence showing in the form of sultanas, cinnamon and a little clove too. The mouthfeel is a little thinner than we’d like, although there’s still some sugar syrup-like texture there. Time and air brings out treacle and cinder toffee on the good length finish.
Nose (with water)
The reduced nose opens with a little bit of a charred wood aroma, moving into raisins, reduced balsamic vinegar, salted caramel and fig jam. It’s a little richer than pre-dilution, with more of the PX character showing up for us. There’s still a dustiness coming through as well.
Palate (with water)
he reduced palate hasn’t changed too much, we’re still getting cherry cola, raspberries and a bit of salinity too. The texture is broadly similar, although we find the palate just slightly flatter than before. The alcohol was in good balance before, so we’d avoid diluting this dram in the future.
A lovely example of Bunnahabhain, where we feel the cask and spirit have married together beautifully. It’s maintained a coastal salinity whilst pulling out lots of rich dried fruit flavours and aromas from the PX maturation. We wish the palate was a bit oilier, but we can’t deny this is very good whisky.
A bigger IB might be able to offer a similar cask for cheaper, but the real question is would the whisky be as good?
Dramfool 64th release Craigellachie 15yo cask #90050593
Distilled 12th December 2007, this release spent its life maturing in a first fill PX Quarter Cask for 15 years before being bottled 14th July 2023. 134 bottles were released.
The nose opens with honey nut cheerios, wholewheat bread, dunnage warehouse must, red apple skin and caramelised white chocolate. It’s a touch peppery, giving us a little bit of alcohol to contend with whilst nosing. There’s something reminiscent of a light wisp of smoke right in the background too. Time and air brings out more typical sherry notes, caramel, dates, brown sugar.. it’s not overly sweet though, there’s a certain sourness (like sour cherries) that we’re finding.
The palate has quite an oily texture, sweet vanilla at first, moving into creme brûlée, caramel wafers and a bit of grape must towards the finish. It’s a warming dram, Christmas cake stuffed with raisins and drowned in brandy sauce. The alcohol stands up to this richness, maybe a little too much for us. We’re also finding cherry sourz, a little bit of Jamaican rum funk and dry earth on the finish. It’s got a real juxtaposition between sweet and earthy sherry flavours which is quite nice.
Nose (with water)
The reduced nose has more pronounced red fruit, a little bit of mint and eucalyptus too. There’s more overt sweetness on the nose, and some of that pepperiness we detected before has subsided. There’s still a dunnage mustiness appearing, keeping the real earthy character of the dram alive.
Palate (with water)
The reduced palate has lost some of that upfront texture which is a shame, although it now bursts open with red fruits. In a similar vein to the reduced nose, we’re getting less alcohol bite, as well as more earthy flavours appearing. More of the dried fruits start appearing on the latter part of the palate now, we’re getting bit of sticky toffee pudding too.
We were trepidatious going into this dram as we don’t always gel with Craigellachie, but this manages to keep the best parts of the Craigellachie spirit without the funkiness we usually get. The PX quarter cask has imparted bags of flavour here. It’s a bit spicy in places, but water tames this well (although it does lose a bit of the mouthfeel we enjoyed).
We understand the price of the Bunnahabhain, but this seems a little much for the distillery. Saying that we suspect it’s just reflective of cask prices these days.
- 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.