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Monday, September 18, 2023

Bunnahabhain 10 year old 2009 Adelphi, cask 900022

Yes, I teased some ≥13yo Bunnahabhain over a week ago, and yet here's a 10yo. Give it two more days, people! Just think, this 10 year old is about the age of the previous two reviewed Bunnas combined. Probably.

Today's Bun is one of those coffee-hued single sherry casks from Adelphi. When I see 10 year old scotch looking darker than maple syrup, I anticipate lots of oak extraction. BUT oak + malt is tasty (almost as tasty as malt + oak), and maybe some fun science happened within this cask.


Distillery: Bunnahabhain
Ownership: Distell International Limited (via Burn Stewart Distillers)
Region: Islay
Independent Bottler: Adelphi
Age: 10 years (2009 - 2019)
Maturation: 1st fill sherry butt
Cask number900022
Outturn: 702 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 58.9%
(Sample from friends. Thank you, Doctors Springbank!)


Chocolate and hazelnuts (nuttier than Nutella) start the nose off, followed by almond butter and sea water. Quieter notes of Brazil nuts, vanilla, and corn flakes appear later, with black raisins showing up after 30 minutes. The palate is mouth-numbingly hot. It takes 20+ minutes for my mouth to adjust. Ah, there's some grape jam, barrel char (or taste bud char?), and toasty oak spices. The oak becomes more aggressive with time, until it turns astringent. It finishes hot, sweet, and slightly bitter. More oak spice and pencil graphite.

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or 1¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Quite a shift here. The nose has figs, cinnamon, cocoa, and cloves up front, saline and molasses in the back. The cooled-off palate shows a mix of tobacco, cinnamon, cayenne, confectioner's sugar, and bitter cocoa. It still finishes with a wall of oak. Behind the wall awaits cinnamon, brown sugar, and cocoa.


Well, it's me versus the Whiskybase community on this one. As of 9/17/23, 87 voters give it a 88.20 average score, with only one person giving it a score below 85.

This isn't an 80-point whisky when neat. While the nose is a lot of fun, the palate is all raw heat and (yes) oak extract, signs of an incomplete, below average whisky. Dilution saves it, offering a more complex nose, and a palate full of character. The finish still struggles to push through the wood's assault.

Were I to provide any recommendations to bottle owners, I'd say play with dilution to find the honey spot. And good luck. My actual palate is still numb more than two hours after the tasting, something I've rarely experienced with a scotch whisky. For me, that's not a plus.

Availability - Probably sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 84 (diluted, 5-10 points lower when neat)