For Feis Ile 2023 Bunnahabhain had three bottlings: a 17 year-old Mòine Triple Cask, a 1998 Manzanilla Cask finish and this Bunnahabhain Canasta Cask.
I already tried a Bunnahabhain 2014 Canasta butt some time ago. You will probably remember that Canasta is a Cream sherry from Bodegas Williams & Humbert. It is a combination of around 75% dry Oloroso and 25% Pedro Ximénez, blended at a young age and matured for at least 6 years.
Nowadays Cream sherry casks are not very common for whisky maturation, but let’s not forget it’s still the most popular sherry style worldwide (for drinking, I mean). Most of the casks arriving in Scotland before the 1990s contained such blends.
Bunnahabhain Canasta Cask Matured (51,2%, OB for Fèis Ìle 2023)
Nose: on the one hand there are classic sherry markers like pancake syrup, brown sugar and rum and raisins. On the other hand there’s a hint of mulching leaves, burnt hazelnuts, savoury cereals and wet wood. Then big hints of clove too. Heather honey and soft herbs. Whiffs of dark chocolate and coastal touches. Interestingly you mostly get dark aromas yet it feels a little thin in the middle.
Mouth: a lot of savoury (oxidative) notes again. Burnt nuts and coffee. Some charred meaty notes and tobacco too. Dark chocolate again, as well as some Mon Chéri andd caramel. More full-bodied than the nose suggested. Then also a leathery note, walnuts and a faint winey touch. Orange peel bitterness in the background.
Finish: medium, on black pepper, cereals, fudge and dark chocolate again.
Similar to what I found in the other Canasta release. Dark sherry notes, with syrupy sweetness but also a big savoury side and plenty of roasted nuts. Overall quite good, with interesting elements. Still available from the Bunnahabhain website and retailers like The Whisky Exchange or samples from Whiskysite.nl.