Sunday, 10 September 2017

Elements of Islay Bn4 (Bunnahabhain) Single Islay Malt

A Tasty Dram tasting notes Elements of Islay Bn4 (Bunnahabhain) Single Islay Malt

The Elements of Islay bottlings are a series of small batch whisky expressions bottled by Specialty Drinks (closely related to The Whisky Exchange). The bottles are a wink to the apothecary bottles of old and the labels are inspired by Mendeleev's Periodic Table.

Every bottling has a fairly straight forward system to identify the Islay distilleries. Ar stands for Ardbeg, Bw for Bowmore, Br for Bruichladdich and Bn for... Bunnahabhain. The number coupled the element is the nth batch bottled of a certain distillery. So Bn4 is the fourth batch of Bunnahabhain bottled under the Elements of Islay label.

The fourth batch of the Elements of Islay whiskies were endorsed by Hideo Yamaoka? Hideo who you might ask. The man is well-known whisky collector and movie producer who won some Feis Ile nosing competitions and the Spirit of Speyside Best Nose award and translated some of Michael Jackson's work into Japanese. Looks like a man who knows his whiskies.

Identity Kit Elements of Islay Bn4

Elements of Islay Bn4 Islay Single Malt Bunnahabhain
Picture: The Whisky Exchange

  • Bottled by Specialty Drinks
  • Bunnahabhain Distillery, Port Askaig (Islay)
  • NAS single malt.
  • Endorsed by Hideo Yamaoka
  • Alcohol: 54.5% ABV

Tasting notes

Colour: The transparent apothecary bottle shows the golden hue clearly. It doesn't look like it has been e150-tampered with. Fast legs are leaving behind a beautiful texture on the glass.

Nose: The first thing that hits you is big fat dirty sweet peat. But then things get more complicated. I still find the nose difficult to pin down. And yet, that's part of the whisky's attractive power. Let's try anyway. BBQ bacon, rye bread with honey. Brown sugar, aged rum, vanilla and an aniseed aroma as you'll find it in tarragon. Bananas sprinkled with light brown rock sugar. Bicycle tires or rubber in a good way. A busy gas station. Creamy mango puree.
With water: More pleasant rubber. Baked bananas, fat cream and tropical wood. Cedar wood perhaps?

Taste: Pepper and tobacco are omnipresent on the tongue. Fresh and crisp grapefruit, lavender honey. Juicy smoke. Perfectly sippable at 54.5% ABV. As long as you don't knock it down in one shot. But we're educated whisky drinkers, aren't we?
With a small splash of water a smoky explosion develops. Roasted peppercorns guaranteeing a warm mouth feel. Some more exotic flavours from papaya fruit.

Finish: A long warm finish with a touch of menthol.

Elements of Islay Bn4 (Bunnahabhain) Single Islay Malt

This is one of the best Bunnas in my book till now. Once the whisky grabs you it won't let you go. Difficult to describe, yet that's what makes it so attractive. A dirty peaty, smoky, creamy malt. That's how I like my Bunna.

You want an argument in the relatively quiet NAS debate? This was a good example at around €54 back in the days (I bought my bottle two years ago at Slijterij De Vuurtoren ). Recommended stuff but long gone by now!
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