The restart of my blog after quite some silence. No better way to be challenged by a friend (Jeroen van Gaalen) to compare my Bunnahabhain against his… Wait that is nothing new… well in this case the fun part is that they are both distilled on 11/12/1997, both heavily peated and both from the Signatory Vintage range. Aren’t there any differences? Yes off course, mine is dual cask and almost 16 years , Jeroens is single cask and over 14 years old. Interesting difference is the ABV. Now enough small talk let’s get started…
Nose: A bit restraint, almost shy at first. Aromatic with mild but growing smoke. Gentle coastal campfire. Nice balanced spice blend including fresh herbs (basil, cilantro) combined with ginger and black pepper. Slight citrus note of lemon combined with anise.
Taste: Also restraint, starting a bit fresh with the citrus and anise and then it hits you. Quite strong smoke, but still the coastal campfire, but now combined with grilled salmon and smoked mackerel, even a bit oyster. A bit buttery and oily.
Finish: Does it ever stop…. It is long and pungent. Bit peppery and somewhat burnt nuts, but very smoky and peaty. Now I know why this is called heavily peated.
Nose: Outgoing, but again a lighter, fresher type of smoke at first. Very similar to the previous one, but a tad sweeter, with vanilla and liquorice. Hints of citrus fruits, red grapefruit and orange. Again the ginger and the black pepper are present, but the fresh herbs are absent.
Taste: starts sweeter, darker with quite a bit of oaky influence, lots of roasted nuts and grilled meat with a spicy bbq rub with cloves, cinnamon. Also a strange note, bit vinegar like but it isn’t that I guess. Casks feel much more charred then with the previous one.
Finish: Again very long, but also quite a bit of tannins which leaves a bitter tone pushing the smoke and peat backwards. Feels less peated than the previous one.
Two brothers who start quite similar if you get passed the 3% abv difference, but then they evolve in opposite directions. The first being gentle, fresh but pungent, the second being dark, strong but also a bit bitter (and I am a bit sensitive to bitterness I learnt in the past) … A great comparison, but for me I am happy with my dual cask as it wins this dual for me…
Jeroen, Thank you for the sample and looking forward to your notes!