Taste: Bunnahabhain 22 year Bladnoch Forum Bottling

This is a bottle I’ve been enjoying for sometime now, and it could turn out to be one of the last Bladnoch Forum bottlings as we’ve gone a while (too long in my book) since a forum release. For the unaware the Bladnoch distillery has a forum and encourages everyone to get involved. It is a genuinely friendly and helpful community. A refreshing oasis in the wild seas of the internet. Fancy visiting Scotland, a distillery or want whisky tips in general? Then get over, get involved and seek those answers. This great, knowledgeable community deserves decent whisky hence this 22 year old Bunnahabhain.

Bunnahabhain is an Islay distillery and one that is often overlooked in favour of more popular Islay institutions. Having recently changed ownership the hope of many is that new investment will spark some deserved appreciation of what this distillery can offer. For instance I attended the Whisky Luxe event in Edinburgh last year and the standout dram in my opinion was the Bunnahabhain 25 year old. Simply marvellous and priced at circa £190, it puts this independent bottling into context as a great bargain.

The distillery isn’t too far from Caol Ila and exists at the end of a rugged road on a wild Islay coastline. It is a dramatic setting, with a jetty stretching out into the mist and that salty air infusing the Bunnahabhain malt with it’s richness. I still remember being at the distillery as if it was just yesterday. Enough reminiscing, lets get on with the bottle at hand.

Distillery: Bunnahabhain
Distilled: 20th October 1989
Bottled: 17th May 2012
Strength: 50.2%
Cask Type: Bourbon
Cask Numbers: 5658
Additional: Release of 245 bottles

Price: £54.00 or to forum members £38.50 (sold out)

Colour: Syrup

Nose: Ginger, almond, brine, star anise 

Mouth: Smooth is the first impression, a lovely aged Bunna’ with depth of character. The salty confines, a touch of smoke, coffee bean and a lovely finish

Raith’s verdict: If you can, try and get ahold of a Bunna’ to experience what this distillery can offer. At the moment it seems to be a happy hunting ground for independent bottlers but this may change. This is the sort of dram you can serve up and receive ‘wow’ comments from others. Seemingly a real treat. Thankfully most Bunna’s are reasonably priced and worth tracking down. I have the older brother in the form of a recent Whisky Broker’s 23 year old Bunna’ release that I have yet to open – looking forward to that one. When that time does come you’ll read my impressions here and it will be interesting to compare both.


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