Woodrows Bunnahabhain 11yo Cask #356627 & Woodrows Braes of Glenlivet 28yo Cask #165616


We're ending the week with two new releases from Edinburgh based independent bottler, Woodrows. 

    Woodrows Bunnahabhain 11yo Cask #356627

    Region: Islay

    ABV: 62.3%

    Price: £96.95

    Distilled 21st of February 2012, the spirit initially rested in a refill hogshead before being finished in 1st filled oloroso sherry American Oak Hogshead, from Bodegas Garvey, for 2 years 10 months. 264 bottles were released.

    Nose

    We’re met with candied pecan nuts, sea salt, reduced red kola, fizzy cola bottles too. There’s also Christmas cake, cooking chocolate and cinnamon sticks. It’s not overly sweet, it’s definitely a nuttier, earthier type of sherry maturation. The alcohol feels reasonably well integrated, especially at 62%! Coming back after some time and air, we find dates, black peppercorns and a little bit of orange essence too.

    Palate

    The palate begins with dark chocolate, toffee, dry oak, caramel drizzle and cloves. Again, it’s a drier type of sherry maturation here, although there are tinges of sweetness appearing as the dram develops on our tongues. The mouthfeel is really good, it’s got a syrupy PX-like texture, and we’re starting to find some of those raisins and amaretto flavours appearing after a bit of air. The finish is long with baking spices and cocoa beans. There’s a bit of spice here, black pepper mostly, but it drinks well for the ABV.

    Nose (with water)

    The reduced nose brings out even more raisins, prunes, torched figs and a hint of liquorice too. It’s still got some pepperiness but mostly when your nose is a bit too deep in the glass. Going back and we’re finding some leather and hints of tobacco too.

    Palate (with water)

    The reduced palate has a bit more upfront sweetness, toffee, gingerbread, a few iced gems and some overcooked shortbread. The latter part of the palate has those pecan nuts, baking chocolate and clove spice. The dram is still pretty lovely with water added, however we do prefer the undiluted aromas and flavours.

    Conclusion

    A really well done additional maturation. It’s got the Bunnahabhain character, with lots of rich, nutty and syrupy sherry notes that meld nicely creating something delicious. It’s a bit peppery in places, however we’re nitpicking. One for the people who enjoy a drier sherry matured profile. We’ll go with 8/10.

    Score: 8/10

    Value

    A wee bit pricey in our opinion, but we understand that sherry casks ain’t cheap.

    Woodrows Braes of Glenlivet 28yo Cask #165616

    Region: Speyside

    ABV: 53.8%

    Price: £240.00

    Distilled 20th of December 1994, the spirit rested in a refill bourbon barrel for 28 years before being bottled on the 28th of February 2023. 138 bottles were released.

    Nose

    The nose opens with peaches, buttery crumbly pastry, honeyed sweetness and lemon rind. It’s got a bit of noticeable alcohol spice initially, but it mellows out over time. We’re also finding fruity boiled sweets, marzipan and a brioche-like breadiness that appears as we continue to nose. It doesn’t scream 28 year old Speyside whisky to us, although it definitely shows some age with the subtle sweet bourbon cask aromas.

    Palate

    The palate begins with a lovely viscous mouthfeel, really well textured with a burst of pineapple in the form of upside down cake, caramel, vanilla bean and freshly zested mandarins. It’s super fruity, with a backbone of warm oak spice, clove and a dusting of cinnamon as the palate develops. The finish has a good length, we’re finding toffee popcorn and caramelised honey flavours appearing. The alcohol feels slightly harsher than we’d expect for a dram of this age, but it’s easy enough to get past as the rest of the flavours really do stand out well.

    Nose (with water)

    Water brings out some sweet citrus, soft white fruits, lots of lemon oil, candyfloss and icing sugar. The alcohol spice has mostly diminished, and it’s just a very pleasant nosing experience now. There’s a bit of butteriness appearing as we continue to nose it.

    Palate (with water)

    The reduced palate reduces some of that spice, transforming it into light brown sugar, cinnamon and a hint of nutmeg. Lots of vanilla sweetness, honeycomb and spritzy citrus still showing. The mouthfeel is still good, but slightly diminished compared with the unreduced palate.

    Conclusion

    Pretty solid whisky here. The nose is great, lots of upfront fruits and honeyed sweetness and the palate continues the trend, but with a really good texture to back it all up. Our one gripe is the alcohol, it feels a touch too hot in places and makes the dram feel younger than it is. This falls just shy of an 8 for us, so we’ll go with 7.5/10.

    Score: 7.5/10

    Value

    Not too bad for a single cask of this age

    • 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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