SMWS 10.254 & SMWS 10.250


A couple of recent Bunnahabhains released by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society to begin the week.

SMWS 10.254

Region: Islay

ABV: 61.1%

Price: £137.90

This release was distilled 25th of November 2004 and initially matured in an ex-oloroso butt before being finished in a 1st fill ex-bodega oloroso butt. 548 bottles were released at 18 years old.  

Nose

The nose opens with sawn wood, a little bit of foosty sherry, white pepper, sherry vinegar, with a fair bit of alcohol appearing too. We’re also finding Jamon Serrano, dates, engine oil and roasted figs. It’s quite punchy, and not what we expected.

Palate

The palate opens with fizzy cherryade, chili jam, milk chocolate covered macadamia nuts and honey glazed BBQ pork. It’s overly hot, too much alcohol bringing out a lot of spice and a touch of bitterness towards the finish. The mouthfeel is good though, relatively creamy, and we’re reminded of a breakfast of bran flakes and milk. With time and air we start to get ginger snaps, orange peel, stroopwaffles and rum and raisin ice cream.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose brings a little toasted oak out, along with fizzy Haribo sweets and orange oil. It’s still pretty funky, rancio, smoked venison, dusty furniture and some paprika too.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate maintains the creamy mouthfeel, but also the upfront peppery spice. It’s still quite sweet, cherries, cranberry juice, honey, along with date syrup, treacle and wood shavings. The water brings a bit of balance, and even though it’s still quite spicy, it benefits greatly from a drop or two.

Conclusion

They weren’t lying when they named it “a real boisterous dram”. It’s big, bold, punchy and a bit weird. We’re a little torn, initially we didn’t gel with the whisky, however after time, air and a liberal splash of water, we’ve started to quite enjoy it.

Score: 7/10

Value

18 year old full sherry matured Islay whisky for £140 is a pretty good deal.


SMWS 10.250

Region: Islay

ABV: 58.8%

Price: 895 DKK

This release was distilled 17th of October 2013 and initially matured in a refill bourbon cask before being finished in a 2nd fill ex-PX hogshead. It was picked by Danish member Michael Bjærre to celebrate the 2023 gathering.

Nose

Initially, we're getting aromas of arbroath smokies, toffee apples, bonfire smoke, brine, seaweed, menthol, burnt newspapers, and cloves. After sitting with it for a while, we start to notice notes of cardamom, caramel-coated apples, and heather honey reminiscent of Drambuie. There's also orange peel and tar, as well as a little spice from the alcohol, which is understandable given the age.

Palate

There's a nice icing sugar and s'mores sweetness initially that leads into smoke, graham crackers, pepper-crusted venison, cloves, and aniseed. It has a creamy mouthfeel and a good finish. Our only real critique would be that the spice outlasts the other flavours. Going back, there's blackcurrant cordial, sherbet, Appletiser, and smoky raspberry ripple.

Nose (with water)

When reduced, we're getting nuttier aromas: slivered almonds, peanuts, and alongside these notes, there's more caramel, earth, sand, whole grain mustard, and sherbet sweets. However, the trade-off is it has lost some of its fishy notes. The alcohol is now better balanced, and the texture is creamier.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate is much sweeter, featuring pannacotta and crème caramel, but it's also oddly spicier. The spice still outlasts the sweetness on the finish. The smoke resembles ash more now. While the mouthfeel has diminished slightly, overall, it has held up well to a few drops of water.

Conclusion

A great example of young Staoisha Bunnahabhain, and the favourite of the gathering bottles we’ve tried this year. It has a good balance between sweetness and peat. For us it’s a 7.5 pushing an 8.

Score: 7.5/10

Value

It’s a little pricey, but then whisky is more expensive in Denmark so that’s understandable.

🥃 If you enjoy our content, consider buying us a dram! 🥃
  • 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.

    If you like what you’ve read then check out our social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to get notifications of when we post a new review or just to chat about whisky with us.

    You also might be interested in...

    SMWS February 2024 Outturn Review
    SMWS February 2024 Outturn Review
    Find out which bottles are the winners from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society's February 2024 Outturn.
    Read More
    Kilchoman Islay Pipe Band 2016 Release (Cask 689/2011) & Kilchoman Club 12th Edition (Blanc De Blancs Casks Finish)
    Kilchoman Islay Pipe Band 2016 Release (Cask 689/2011) & Kilchoman Club 12th Edition (Blanc De Blancs Casks Finish)
    We're looking at a couple of younger Kilchoman releases, including a not often seen blanc-de-blanc finish.
    Read More
    Thompson bros 1969 Blended Spirit Drink
    Thompson bros 1969 Blended Spirit Drink
    We've got an interested blended spirit drink up for review, six years by age statement but containing whisky from the si
    Read More

    Leave a comment