Bunnahabhain 40yo 1972/2012 (44.6%, The House of MacDuff, The Golden Cask, CM 184, 346 bottles)

Recently I reviewed an anonymous Bunnahabhain by David Stirk. That expression was heavy on Sherry. Here we have another Bunnahabhain, much older, and much lighter. As with all Golden Casks, this is again a cask that was picked by John McDougall. John has a big, big history in Whisky, so in the time when it is pretty hard for independent bottlers to find an exceptional cask, John still might be able to find one. Let’s see how this oldie he picked is holding up.

Color: Light Gold.

Nose: Waxy and old smelling (old bottle effect). Fatty wood, with hints of licorice and maybe even some lavas. The profile is also fruitier with pineapple, and dried apricots. It doesn’t have any apparent peat. I do detect, however, some smoke, some chalk and butter. Hints of latex wall paint and custard. Quite a list of funny aroma’s for this Bunnahabhain if you ask me. The most striking aroma of them all is the very special waxy oldness it oozes.

Taste: Interesting, at first a combination of white wine, wood and slightly bitter beer. Licorice again with toffee, but the whole is quite dry and light. The initial attack is there, but the body is already light and the finish is not very long. The more this Whisky gets a chance to breathe, for instance in the glass, the more bitter it gets. It’s still easy within limits, so not to worry. Lacks a bit of power though if you ask me. This cask strength Whisky was bottled at 44.6%, so the angels particularly liked it!

At first, it even shows some similarities to 1972 Caperdonichs, with this exceptionally waxyness, but soon it gets much simpler or should I say lighter. Especially the body of those 1972 Caperdonichs are quite full, whereas this Bunnahabhain has a more lighter style to it. A bit brittle or fragile, but this Bunnahabhain does have the old wax and wood, that Whisky these day just don’t have and with modern techniques, will never be made like this again. So treat this Bunna gently and see it as a time capsule of some sorts.

Points: 86

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