Bunnahabhain 1978 / 1975 (Signatory 35th Anniversary)

Bunnahabhain 1978 / 1975 (Signatory 35th Anniversary)

Signatory Vintage selected not one but three Bunnahabhain bottlings to celebrate its 35th anniversary (and the rest wasn’t too shabby either). The youngest is 44 years of age, matured in a second-fill Oloroso butt, the others are 45 and 48 years and from a first-fill cask. This promises to become a serious session.


Bunnahabhain 44 yo 1978 (41,5%, Signatory Vintage 35th Anniversary 2023, second-fill Oloroso sherry butt #7638, 238 btl.)

Nose: a lot of paraffin and even cod liver oil at first, followed by walnuts and hints of ripe banana. Then light pepper, pine, almond and hints of blonde tobacco. Whiffs of hay and something of women’s powder. Wildflowers too.

Mouth: hmm. Honey but also quite a funny hint of marihuana. Then hints of pears, more nutty notes, herbs and something of a Belgian Tripel beer. Settles down on mild yellow fruit sweetness, pine needles and tobacco leaves.

Finish: medium, on ginger, hay, walnuts and pears. Still an aftertaste of aromatic herbs.

Slightly peculiar, with a range of uncommon aromas and flavours. A little fragile too. Some 60+ year old whiskies have these special herbal notes and this too has gotten to an age where things become unique.



Bunnahabhain 45 yo 1978 (42,6%, Signatory Vintage 35th Anniversary 2023, Oloroso sherry butt #2588, 351 btl.)

Bunnahabhain 45 Years 1978 cask 2588 - Signatory Nose: quite different, much more classic. Nice red apples and berries mixed with plums, raisins and almonds. Then hints of cigar boxes and unlit cigars, some coffee and whiffs of damp earth. Gingerbread and cinnamon pastry too.

Mouth: starts on rich hints of walnut oil and spiced plums, some earthy notes and of course tobacco leaves. Drops of robust cognac before it moves towards coffee and dark tea. Once you swallow, there are these aromatic flashes of bergamot and herbs, albeit less ‘funny’ than in the other 1978. I’m guessing it is a cask thing, but in this case the sherry covers most of it.

Finish: not very long but elegant and never too dry, on earthy notes, tea, a whiff of cask smoke, walnuts and cocoa.

More classic, easier to sip and like, in my opinion. The richness and vibrancy are pretty exemplary. Score: 91/100



Bunnahabhain 48 yo 1975 (50,2%, Signatory Vintage 35th Anniversary 2023, Oloroso sherry butt #2845, 361 btl.)

Bunnahabhain 1975 cask 2845 - Signatory Vintage Nose: the juiciest of the trio, with red berries, soaked sultanas, aromatic plums and beautiful notes of polished furniture. Hints of cherries, blackberries and oranges. Then darker cedar wood, old leather and drops of coffee. Also tiny hints of pickled walnuts, mint, demerara sugar and the cognac that we also found in the 45 year-old.

Mouth: sumptuous sherry again, now with the higher ABV as an additional asset. Perfectly clean and fruity. Plums, orange liqueur, raspberry ganache, figs and lots of raisins. Some black peppercorns, cocoa, drops of camphor and leather. Some old armagnac now, as well as hints of oak char and burnt edges of cinnamon pastry. Coffee returns in the end, along with light herbs.

Finish: very long, on more coffee, leather and noble wood.

Deeply sherried in an impressive, juicy way. It does get more oaky on the palate, but I never find it too woody or too brutal. Textbook big Oloroso, in my opinion, a worthy culmination of this session. Score: 92/100