Signatory Vintage 100 Proof Edition 7 - Bunnahabhain (Staoisha) 10yo & Cadenheads Bunnahabhain 13yo Authentic Collection February 2024


We're beginning the week with a couple of independently bottled Bunnahahabains including one finished in a wine cask, not a bad Monday at all.

Signatory Vintage 100 Proof Edition 7 - Bunnahabhain (Staoisha) 10

Region: Islay

ABV: 57.1%

Price: £47.00

This is a small-batch release that's a vatting of multiple first-fill oloroso sherry butts, distilled in 2013 and left to mature until 2023. At least that’s what the marketing blurb says. Looking at the colour on this it’s a little surprising that no refill casks have been used.

Nose

On the nose, there are notes of popcorn, roasted peanuts, an abundance of medicinal peat, mint mouthwash (reminiscent of the mouthwash at a dentist), and TCP. Upon revisiting, we notice fish brine and a meaty peat that's almost akin to Laphroaig. There are also notes of fresh green apples, brown sugar, savoury pastries, plain kettle chips, and dried earth.

Palate

Initially it’s as if an ashtray has been emptied into our mouths. Pushing past that and we notice a dryness accompanied by a hint of dark chocolate bitterness, cloves, liquorice, burnt s’mores, and golden syrup. The mouthfeel leans towards being slightly oily. The finish stretches to a medium length, offering a well-balanced mix of ash and sweetness throughout. Upon revisiting, notes of roasted peanuts and smoky bacon crisps emerge. Tasting this we’d not have guessed this was just first-fill sherry casks.

Nose (with water)

Water has reduced some of the peat, but it’s still got a nice hit of smoke. It’s also become slightly sweeter, but overall it is largely the same as it was pre-dilution.

Palate (with water)

Like the nose it’s sweeter, but there’s also more nuttiness, and the peat is a little more one dimensional, becoming very ash in nature. The mouthfeel retains that oiliness and the finish is still medium length. Like the nose water hasn’t really changed the palate too much.

Conclusion

So, not a sherry bomb you might expect from a dram that’s been matured in 1st fill casks, but a great mix of peat and sweetness. It’s also not the world’s most complex dram, but not all whiskies need to be. This is one for the peat heads and good enough to earn a 8.

Score: 8/10

Value

Pretty hard to do better than a peated Bunna for sub £50 these days.


Cadenheads Bunnahabhain 13yo Authentic Collection February 2024

Region: Islay

ABV: 53.2%

Price: £70.00

Next up is a 13yo unpeated Bunnah that has been additionally maturing in a ruby port hogshead since June 2019. 294 bottles were released.

Nose

Initially, there are notes of dolly mixture sweets, tobacco, red grapes, and strawberry Chewits. Upon revisiting, we notice grapefruit, dried wood, black pepper, strawberry jam, and pine nuts, along with a hints of sardines. The alcohol is well balanced, and the finishing cask has integrated well with the spirit adding an extra dimension to the nose.

Palate

The palate is characterised by honey-roasted pork joints, prune juice, figs, three-day-old Shiraz, tobacco, and ginger spice. The spice lingers beyond the sweeter notes on the finish, yet a citrus note emerges right at the tail end. The mouthfeel is reasonable, but overall we’re finding this a little hot for our liking.

Nose (with water)

With water added, we detect an increase in tobacco, accompanied by a subtle hint of ash. There's also a note here that makes us think of a freshly opened cask, along with some golden syrup, and leather. The wine we detected earlier has now definitely gone off.

Palate (with water)

With water the spice is tamed a little and now better complements the sweetness in the medium-length finish. Although it’s a a touch more one dimensional with notes of sour cherries and vinegar dominating. The mouthfeel is passable, though it has become noticeably more watery.

Conclusion

Nice nose, but there’s a few notes on the palate that we’re not massively enamoured with, and we’d also hoped for a better mouthfeel. We feel like others may enjoy this more than we do, but for us this is a 6.5.

Score: 6.5/10

Value

Like most of the Authentic Collection this is a good value dram.

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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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