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Friday, September 22, 2023

Bunnahabhain 25 year old, 2015 bottling

Random note to start with: When trying this whisky, I had thought it was a 2011 bottling, as per a link that was sent to me, but when looking at the following bottle code pic...

...I discovered it was in fact the 2015 bottling. This may sound petty, but I was going into this thinking I was trying one of the first updated batches of the XXV, when in fact, I was trying one of the last XXVs.

Bunnahabhain 25 year old (known as XXV from 2005-2016) was chillfiltered and reduced to 43%abv until late 2010 when it was rebooted along with the rest of the range, receiving the 46.3%/nc/ncf presentation. I had never tried any version of the official 25 before last night, so this was a new thing!

Distillery: Bunnahabhain
Distilled by: Highland Distilleries Company Ltd.
Bottled by: Distell International Limited (via Burn Stewart Distillers)
Region: Islay

Age: minimum 25 years
Maturation: mostly sherry casks?
Bottled: 2015
Alcohol by Volume: 46.3%
Chillfiltered? No
e150a? No
(from a bottle split)


It's an old spirit indeed on the nose. Coffee, old newspapers, old calvados, and a hint of shisha. Peach skins, cherry juice, maple, and nocino. The tobacco note expands with time as the whisky also picks up a watermelon Jolly Rancher note.

The palate begins with something like old armagnac + black walnuts. Or maybe a 25 year old nocino? Orange candy, grapefruit, and raw almonds fill the midground. It takes on notes of bitter coffee, PX, and touch of bitter oak after 45 minutes.

The oak hits harder in the finish, bitter and sweet. Jammy PX, black coffee, and a touch of tangy citrus give it some angles.


Though the whisky spent plenty of years in casks — a portion of which may have been older than 25 — time in the glass doesn't do it any favors. It's quite lovely at the 20 minute mark, but after 45 minutes it starts turning into an oak gremlin. The nose remains excellent throughout, but old oak stuff usually smells great. The combination of old armagnac, black walnuts, and grapefruit made this drinker's palate very happy while it lasted. It's actually very good whisky at times, and I'm being hyper-critical here, but the average price of Bunnahabhain 25yo is now $750 in the US, so I don't feel too bad about my commentary.

Availability - Current versions are widely available
Pricing - Current editions are $600-$1000 in the USA, $300-$550 in Europe (ex-VAT)
Rating - 87 (but drops into the 70s after 45 minutes)

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