A while ago, I attended the Islay Whisky Dinner 2012 with some whisky friends. It was organized by Malts of Scotland to showcase the new Islay whiskies in their latest batch. Jim McEwan was our entertaining host, and not only was there good whisky, I was also impressed by the excellent food pairing, done by Thomas Ewers and the chef of Restaurant Balthasar.
This Bunnahabhain 1980 was one of the highlights of the dinner for me.
Bunnahabhain 31 yo 1980 (46,8%, Malts of Scotland 2012, bourbon hogshead, ref. MoS 12038, 220 btl.)
Nose: a slightly subdued nose, with subtle fruity notes (peaches, oranges, dried apricots) and even a deep tropical note of pineapple cubes and mango. A little beeswax and honey. Ethereal oils. Hints of coconut cream and almonds (far) in the background, as well as very soft oak. A discreet nose, give it some time.
Mouth: fresh, a little silent again. Less fruity than on the nose, now showing more nutty flavours and mocha. A lot more oak as well, still within limits though. Again some wax. Slightly too soft maybe but otherwise very nice.
Finish: not too long, with vague fruits (mainly oranges) as well as some oaky notes.
This Bunnahabhain 1980 is not a direct charmer. At the dinner it failed to impress right away, but it caused a small “wow” moment when trying it again after two hours in the glass. Take your time to discover its qualities. Around € 130.