...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Bunnahabhain 11 year old 2009 Signatory, cask 900087 (68%abv!)

After punishing my system last week with Jack Daniel's rocket fuel, I'm going to try three Big Bunna Butts this week, starting with the beast of them all, cask 900087, which weighs in at 68%abv.

Yes, sixty-eight. And it has at least eight sibling casks with slightly higher ABVs. Either the spirit from this parcel went into the cask not at the standard 63.5%abv Bunnahabhain filling strength, but at the distillery's 69%abv new make strength, or Signatory's warehouses have an ultra hot spot. If this isn't the highest ABV scotch whisky I've ever had, then it should be.

'Twas nice knowing all of you.

Distillery: Bunnahabhain
Region: Islay
Independent Bottler: Signatory
Age: 11 years (17 March 2009 - 12 November 2020)
Maturation: 1st fill sherry butt
Cask number900087
Outturn: 597 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 68.0%abv
(Sample from a buddy. Thank you, Secret Agent Man!)


There's no burning of my nose, about which I am grateful. Dark chocolate, raisins, and ocean brine fill the middle, while walnuts, lox, and stones highlight around the edges. The palate is also very approachable, with very vibrant (albeit mostly cask-driven) flavors: dark chocolate and tart cranberries mixed in blackberry and currant jams, a fresh ginger zing, and a hint of minerals in the background. The long, warm finish holds chocolate, blueberries, some citrus, and a touch of umami.

I'm still alive. My esophagus seems to be intact. Dare I dilute the poison?

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or 1 tbl of water per 30mL whisky

The nose has two sides, toffee+almonds and nectarines+brine, that work together well. Red plums and yellow nectarines merge with peppery tannins in the palate, at first. Vanilla and limes appear later. It finishes with tart citrus, vanilla, and raisins.


I'm shocked by how drinkable this is. I'm not surprised by the quality, nor am I astonished that this whisky is essentially cask juice. Sherry cask adoration societies will love this Bunnahabhain even more than I do, though I still think this is very good. Since I don't know the story behind this big butt, I'm not sure what more maturation time would have done to it, other than raise its price. I'd like to think that Signatory has moved a portion of this cask parcel to a different climate for more aging.

Here's what I'd do if I had bought the 700mL bottle: decant it into a 1-liter bottle, add 300mL of water, then let it sit for 3-6 months. The result would be a lot of 47.6%abv delightful Bunnahabhain! I'd feel safer and healthier even though I'd probably drink more of it that way.

Availability - Sold out?
Pricing - ???
Rating - 85