Our biggest Belgian whisky festival Spirits in the Sky was supposed to take place last week-end, but it was replaced with a series of Coronaproof virtual tastings. In one of these founding father Mario Groteklaes presented some of latest releases in their series The Nectar of the Daily Drams.
We had Bunnahabhain releases among others: Bunnahabhain Yin 2008 (first-fill sherry) and Bunnahabhain Staoisha Yang 2014 (dechar/rechar hogshead, heavily peated). Both casks were selected from the warehouses at Signatory Vintage.
In a way this is a younger remake of the Yin / Yang bottling they did in 2013, which were from the same distillery.
Bunnahabhain 12 yo 2008 ‘Yin’ (59,1%, The Nectar of the Daily Drams, first-fill sherry hogshead)
Nose: a wee maritime note to start off (dried seaweed), before it gets more sherried. A fruity style of sherry, mainly on dried apricots, plum sauce and red berries. Polished wood and light tobacco. Needs some time to open up, but it becomes nicely aromatic.
Mouth: a lot of punch. Dried fruits (berries and apricots again, a bit of fresh citrus), some nuts (walnuts), cinnamon and mint. There’s a light tannic astringency towards the end (dark brew coffee and leather) but it fits this intense (European oak?) sherry profile.
Finish: long and a tad hot, increasingly drier and quite peppery.
This has a great balance of dark fruits and drier notes of tobacco and oak. A high quality cask that brought heaps of character to this whisky in a short time. Still some bottles available from The Whisky Exchange.
Bunnahabhain Staoisha 5 yo 2014 ‘Yang’ (59,2%, The Nectar of the Daily Drams, dechar / rechar hogshead)
Nose: a very warm, deeply peated and ashy profile. Pure kiln. Smoked bacon, bonfires and tiger balm. Iodine, vanilla, a hint of cookie dough and tweed jackets after the rain. Some overripe oranges and limoncello behind it.
Mouth: big ashy notes again, with stewed fruits behind it. Caramelized apple, graprefruits, I even got a hint of cherries in the background. The leather and mint are here again, then moving towards herbal liqueurs and tobacco leaves.
Finish: long, all very clean and deeply smoky.
Mario said both casks were examples of the fact that there is still very good whisky to be found at affordable prices. I can only agree, the quality exceeds the age expectations. Staoisha is a name you should check out if you haven’t already.