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Monday, February 17, 2020

Bunnahabhain 20 year old 1991 AD Rattray, cask 5450

Because I am a hollow person, whisky bottles and I have histories. About seven or eight years ago, AD Rattray's cask 5450 of sherried Bunnahabhain was recommended to me by two individuals whom had much more whisky experience than I. Of course I did not buy a bottle. If I had a dime for every glorious bottle I didn't buy, I could afford to buy one of those bottles.

Anyway, I was able to get in on a bottle split of this very bottle this year (8 years after its release). And you know what? *SPOILER ALERT* The gentlemen who recommend this bottle were on to something.

Distillery: Bunnahabhain
Region: Islay
Independent Bottler: AD Rattray
Age: 20 years (2 December 1991 - 19 March 2012)
Maturation: sherry butt
Cask number: 5450
Outturn: 508 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 53%
Chillfiltered? No
mit Farbstoff? Nein
(from a bottle split)

The nose starts off heavy on cherries, black plums and shisha. Hints of dunnage and hot asphalt. Bits of butterscotch, old rye and pipe tobacco. The palate is more salty and savory than sweet. Beef stock and brine. Salted roasted almonds. A little bit of those cherries. It shifts nicely after a while, moving towards dunnage, mint, thyme, almond extract and a bolder saltiness. Some dark chocolate slips into the long finish, along with smoked beef, dried herbs, sea salt and almond extract.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or < 1 tsp of water per 30mL whisky
More dried fruit shows up in the nose, alongside honey, ginger, toffee and toasted oak. It gets really musty after a while. The palate becomes earthier and grassier. Dried herbs, an herbal bitterness, ink, cayenne and hints of berry candy. The finish gets sweeter, but it remains quite herbal, along with some ink and a surprising barley note.

It's even better than I'd anticipated! It's gorgeously complex, never gets too sweet, has multiple gears and swims well. A great winter warmer, this Bunnahabhain might even appeal to bourbon fans due its richness and fruitiness. The cask was also pulled at the perfect time. One can picture the tannin creep beginning within another year or two.

Now how did its sparring partner, another sherry cask Bunny from Rattray, fare up against this beaut? Stay tuned...

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 90