Sometimes I don’t get whisky PR. These two Bunnahabhain bottlings had been ‘soft launched’ in August 2017 in the shadow of a Bunnahabhain restructuring. Later in November, it was announced as ‘new in stock’ by several stores. And in March 2018 I get an e-mail from their PR agency that Bunnahabhain has two brand-new releases! Strange, because by now they are impossible to find…
Bunnahabhain 2003 PX Finish was matured in second-fill sherry casks and then given three more years in first-fill Pedro Ximénez butts. Similar story for the Bunnahabhain 2004 Moine Brandy Finish which was finished for three years in French brandy casks (a first for Bunnahabhain).
Bunnahabhain 2003 ‘PX Finish’ (54,3%, OB 2017, 6768 btl.)
Nose: treacle mixed with maritime notes. Salted caramel, hints of blackcurrant jam underneath. Rum & raisins. Dark chocolate and (burnt) gingerbread. Hints of musty cellar and savoury, leafy notes. Quite sweet and dark, the PX did its job here.
Mouth: rich, sweet sherry with the obvious notes of dark chocolate, blackberry jam and brown sugar. Still some salted caramel and maritime notes.
Finish: quite long, with a peppery heat, sweet plum cake and chocolate.
Very sweet, luckily the maritime character of Bunnahabhain makes it bearable. Good but not something I would buy a whole bottle of unless you have a sweet tooth. Originally around € 95, sold out in most places.
Bunnahabhain 2004 ‘Moine Brandy Finish’ (55,3%, OB 2017, 4152 btl.)
Nose: much more neutral and malty, which also brings the coastalness to the fore. Seaweed and brine. Citrus peel, hints of tyres, black pepper. A slight grapey note. Medium smoke and cold ashes. Slightly sharp overall.
Mouth: oily, with more peat now, even a medicinal kind of peat. Still plenty of malty notes. Then a fruity side unfolds: green apples, unripe pears, lemons. Mid-palate there’s something that holds the middle between mineral dryness and a light tannic note. Grape pips.
Finish: smoky, citrusy, rather long and increasingly dry.
A nice mix of peat smoke and maritime notes. I’m not convinced the Brandy finish is a real asset here, it may be responsible for some fruitiness but also for a tangy edge. Sold out.