Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Bunnahabhain Signatory Vintage 8 Year Staoisha Heavily Peated Islay Single Malt Scotch

- $70
- 117.2 Proof
- 8 Years
- Cask No. 10605
- Dechar/Rechar Hogshead
- Islay

This was one of those bottles that I picked up solely on word-of-mouth recommendation. Binny's had gotten in a number of these Signatory Vintage bottlings, and while I wanted to just buy them all, that's not entirely practical. So, I sent a quick text to a buddy of mine who I knew would have the kind of insights I was looking for. And this, despite its age, was at the top of his list (though there are still a couple others from this run that I want to grab).

My experience with Bunnahabhain is admittedly somewhat limited, but what I've had from them I've found to be aggressive, very smokey and quite delightful. This one being Stoaisha means it's got even more peat that usual, and on top of that, it was matured in a de-charred and then re-charred hogshead.  With it then being bottled at cask strength, this was sure to pack a punch!

The nose hit sweet at first, kind of like honey and butter cookies, perhaps tempered a bit with a sweeter malt note. However, the smokey notes are not far behind, offering a bit of a complement to the sweet notes. There was also a distinct bready quality on the nose as well, and it definitely reminded me on the nose of baked goods.

On my first sip, the first thing I noticed was how sweet it was.  So many of the Islay Scotches I've had lately have been matured in fortified wine barrels, and I kind of forgot how sweet it can be in contrast to the heavy peat notes, even without those sweet wine influences.  This had a delicious and soft, buttery caramel note to it that I just couldn't get enough of.

There were also milk chocolate note as well as those butter cookies (think Trefoils from the Girl Scouts) I was getting on the nose. Of course, this was all paired with the ever-present campfire smokey note, which may have been a bit more pronounced with the fresh char from the barrel adding a touch more influence here. 

What I think I loved most about this bottle, though, was that while the notes of peat were strong, they didn't stick around too long on the finish. Rather, it was the caramel and butter cookie notes that really lingered, leaving me smacking my lips after every swallow.

I said this the last time I reviewed a Bunnahabhain bottle, but I really do need to have more of their whisky in my life. This was a stellar bottle, one that had no need for a sherry or port maturation or finish.

Grade: A

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