...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Birthday Booze: Bunnahabhain 40 year old 1978 by MASAM from Private Stock of Silvano Samaroli

I wanted to get my grimy mitts on a Birthday Bunna since I started this blog. And now I have one from a bottle split. And now I'm going to drink it. It spent 40 years in a sherry butt but it's as light as a 10 year old refill cask whisky.

This is what the sample bottle looks like:

on the back of a gigantic rabbit

But this is what the actual bottle looks like:

lifted from TWE, where the bottle was bought

The whisky was bottled by MASAM, an enterprise overseen by Maryse Accorsi, wife of the late Silvano Samaroli. I think all of MASAM's bottles have this roly-poly look and very old-school label design. But more importantly, the whisky...

Distillery: Bunnahabhain
Region: Islay
Independent Bottler: Samaroli
Range: MASAM, Private Stock of Silvano
Age: 40 years (1978-2019)
Maturation: sherry butt
Cask number7229
Outturn: 520 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 51.6%
Chillfiltered? No
Color added? Definitely not
(from a bottle split)

It has a nose for foodies. Beef stock, aged cheese, back bacon. Smoked salmon on Irish soda bread. Honey butter, mangoes and yuzu. A dusty oil-stained garage. The mangoes and yuzu completely take over after 45 minutes, with some mizunara-style sandalwood notes in the background.

Minerals minerals minerals on the early palate. An earthiness that borders on smoky. Pan-heated dried herbs, miso broth, hints of flower blossoms. Limes, white peaches and yuzu. Toffee pudding far far in the back. Fresher herbs and bolder fruit notes appear after 45 minutes, while all those minerals stay put.

Minerals, salt, dried savory herbs, an OBE-like metallic note and a big squeeze of yuzu juice in the finish.

I drank this late, far too late, into the night, listening to quiet shakuhachi melodies and keeping all the screens off. What a calm vessel this sherry cask proved to be, its restraint generous, allowing time to settle in rather than punish. The results surpassed my high expectations. There's nothing else I can offer here other than goddamn happy birthday to me!

Availability - Several retailers appear to have bottles
Pricing - Half the price of the official 40yo
Rating - 92

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