Bunnahabhain Distillery may have been around since 1883, but that hasn’t stopped them doing new and innovative things today. Their Moine Brandy matured malt is just one example of this.
They were first founded in 1883 by the Islay Distillery Company, which was an enterprise between William Robertson of Robertson & Baxter Blending House and the Greenlees Brothers.
It has changed hands a number of times since then, and in 1999 was only open for a few weeks of production. Back then it was owned by Erdington, who then sold it to Burn Stewert Distillers in 2003.
It has grown massively since then and now produces 2.5 million litres of malt a year, most of which is matured away from the distillery itself.
Bottle cost: £128
The art of finishing hasn’t been around very long, relative to the history of distilling and Whisky maturation. It is a technique that matures malt for a certain number of ears in one type of cask, before outing it in another type of cask to be “finished”.
This expression of Bunnahabhain malt, which is their Moine malt (meaning peated in Scots Gaelic) has been finished in Brandy casks, imparting a rich, fruity flavour. It is not common for Bunnahabhain to use peated malt so this makes for a very special release.
The nose opens with malted grains, citrus fruits and peppery smoke. It is lovely and warming, with a very fruity edge. The smoke is soft and thick, with a peaty tang to it.
There are some floral and herbal noes present as well, which make for quite a complex dram.
Sweeter notes of caramel, honey and vanilla are also present, making this a really lovely start.
The palate is packed with more fruity flavours, such as oranges, raisins, apricots, peaches and grapefruits.
These are gentle and not overwhelming, mixing well with the smoke and deeper notes of spice.
The malted grains come in as well, and go perfectly with the thick smoke.
The brandy is rich and elegant, adding lots of depth and spice to the fruit notes.
The finish is bold, with lots of vanilla and smoke.
This is an excellent exploration in the Bunnahabhain’s peated collection and the exciting things that can be done with it. The brandy adds a lovely fruity note that goes perfectly with the refined smoke. Not one to be missed.