Thursday, 28 February 2013

Abbey's Rare Journey To Islay!

Whisky: Abbey Whisky Rare Casks 2nd Edition Bunnahabhain 23 yr old



Abbey Whisky



Bunnahabhain 23 Yr Old The Rare Casks









About six weeks ago Abbey Whisky posted a question on their Facebook page.

That question was "The first release of the Rare Casks (Caperdonich) was so popular that we're releasing another one, however we need your help deciding what our next release will be.  The choices are a peated Bunnahabhain, distilled in 1989 and aged in a bourbon barrel for 23 years. Natural cask strength of 44%.


A Bruichladdich distilled in 1992, aged in a bourbon barrel for 20 years. Natural cask strength of 57%."

Three of the people who posted the answer for what would be chosen (we're all voting here now) would receive a free sample of the new Rare Cask.

I sat there frozen with indecision.

A peated Bunnahabhain, oh god that sounds good, but it sits at 44% and most people who know me, know I'm a higher abv kinda guy, but it's a peated Bunnahabhain.

The Bruichladdich sounds beautiful and it's quite a bit higher in strength, but then I go back to the peated Bunnahabhain.

Which do I choose?!  How do I decide?!  This is impossible.  I know that realistically I'm not the guy who's got the final say, but it feels like this massive decision.

I finally tentatively post "oooo So hard to choose! I'm torn between the two, but I think my vote will have to be . . . the peated Bunnahabhain. Oh god it's so hard to know which one will be the better they both sound so good!"

Whew, that was so much harder then voting for president, it's like deciding what to name your child, a decision that irrevocably alter your world, helping decide the new Rare Cask release.

Over the next couple days I watch this post closely to see what the popular vote is...

By a landslide it's the Bunnahabhain!

Several weeks after that initial post Abbey Whisky announces the new Rare Cask....

It's the Bunnahabhain!

Awesome!!  Oh sweet baby Jesus that sounds awesome!

Weeks go by and I start feeling an itch, my whisky sense is tingling.  So I send an email out to Abbey asking if they've decided on what the 3rd Rare Cask release will be.

I immediately receive a reply back, it just has a link to the Royal Post and a smiley face.

It's tracking, on a package, saying it's just arrived in Perth today.

A new message pops up on my screen from Abbey "Surprise."

My wife at this point sends me an sms saying that a package has just arrived at our shop.

It contains whisky.

Oh sweet baby Jesus!  Talk about service!

The next eight hours CRAWL by as I await the opening of that lovely little sample bottle, the pouring of it's contents into my trusty little glencairn.

Finally I get home, dinner is finally cooked and I'm able to crack open the bottle.

It pours pale, pale gold as is to be expected coming from a bourbon cask.

Oh god I can't begin to describe how excited I am right now!

Over the next hour I nose my trusty glencairn, restraining my desire to take a sip, as this is my first Bunnahabhain to taste, so it needs to be savored, enjoyed...

drawn out.

A lovely little nose starting off with medicinal smoke with peat, but after a few minutes in the glass it starts to open up, beautifully, with fruit and flowers, there's a hint of ash tray as my wife describes it, but it's enjoyable, as all good Islays are, but as I said then the fruit and flowers develop and appear.

Apples, Pears, Quite floral at times with apple blossoms swirling around in the peat and the smoke.  A touch of spearmint then toasted oak and burnt caramel, then vanilla with the occasional hint of spice, it's gone too quickly for me to pinpoint what spice, I want to say cinnamon, but like I said it's there and gone again.

Time for a taste though!

Light smoke, then floral with a little honey, some spices, again cinnamon over some dried oranges then some lovely bitter chocolate.

Enjoyable, very enjoyable and it is an interesting take on the typical Islay where you rarely expect flowers to pop out, or at least I don't expect to have floral Islays.

The finish lingers and is spicy to start with and then goes floral again, with the floral notes lasting for minutes.

As I said before it's interesting and very enjoyable, a fascinating departure from the normal Islay whiskies that I'm used to and quite moreish and for lack of a better term "sessionable."

And price wise for a cask strength whisky, that's over 20 years old, once more stupidly reasonably priced at roughly $130 AUS, but just so you know you need to act fast as there's only 96 bottles in existence and one of them is coming home with me!

Nose:          23/25 
Taste:         22/25
Finish:         22/25
Balance:      20/25

Overall:       87/100

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