Bunnahabhain 8 Year Old The MacPhail's Collection
Well priced whisky bargains are still out there waiting to the discovered and enjoyed. Its for these worthwhile purchases that word of mouth is a key feature hence this purchase from the MacPhail's Collection by Gordon & MacPhail.
A key fundamental tends to be that such bargains come from the domain of the independent bottler. Nowadays they all have their various bottling ranges including a more bargain end of the scale such as Douglas Laing's Provenance range which I attended a tasting of. As the bigger firms have access to a variety of younger casks, it can be tricky keeping track of what's on the shop shelf. Always if you can drop in and ask what's of note as chances are they've had a taste of a couple to enable them to sell the whisky. After regular visits you'll soon appreciate who's opinion is more in tune with your own.
When I start to hear the jungle drums from different sources about a bottling then you have to sit up and take notice. Priced at £30 or thereabouts this isn't going to break the bank and could be an almost impulse purchase to some.
It's from Bunnahabhain on Islay and bottled at 8 years of age. It's also their heavily peated malt which they produce at certain times of the year mainly for blending purposes I believe, that is until they released the Bunnahabhain Toiteach in 2013. For this release Gordon & MacPhail have watered this down to a reasonable 43% which I can accept given the price; its just on the verge of being too much but clings to the cliff-face with real gusto.
I quite enjoy a Bunnahabhain now and again. It's the more gentle end of the Islay spectrum and can offer complexity with flavour at a reasonable price. I recently reviewed the 12 year old Bunnahabhain and found it palatable; surprisingly preferring it over the 18 year old Bunnahabhain. It just goes to show you that age isn't everything.
Colour: sanded oak
Nose: a peat blast followed by sea salt. A combination of orange peel and moss with a decaying element present. Subtle lemon influence and cream with a spent matchstick and roasted coffee beans. Milk chocolate with a gentle Lapsang souchong finish.
Taste: is it coal or charcoal? Fried bacon followed by something from the bottom of the frying pan actually maybe its bacon crisps I'm tasting here. An oily aspect and a smoky bonfire and spent gunpowder. Roasted coffee beans once more with ash and cola and aniseed sweeties.
Overall: I foresee an ideal match with my Cockburns of Dingwall Haggis next time I sit down to enjoy that meal. Real character at only 8 years old and a rare example of a bargain that will set you back around £30.