Released for Fèis Ìle 2022, Bunnahabhain Abhainn Araig takes its name from the Araig River on Islay. It has been matured in ex-bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks before transfered to Pedro Ximenez Octave casks (Price at time of tasting: £89.95).
*Octave barrel: It is a type of cask with a volume of approximately 50 liters, which is 1/8th of the size of butt type casks. Due to its small volume, the contact of the whisky with oak is higher which leads to a more cask-driven character.
Bunnahabhain Abhainn Araig – Fèis Ìle 2022 (Single Malt Scotch, 50.8% abv)
Nose: The intense sherry character is evident at the first sniff. Red and black fruits, almost “jam-like”, are followed by burnt oak, caramel, old books and bitter chocolate. It is also possible to get very slightly salty notes. After few swirls, I felt a refreshing sweetness that I can describe as menthol chocolate. A complex and powerful nose.
Palate: We feel the cask effect more on the palate with intense spicy aromas. Black grape, bitter, toffee, leather and burnt oak aromas are followed by tobacco, black pepper, chili pepper and hints of salt behind the palate. Intense and heavy.
Finish: A warm and long finish with burnt oak, black grape, bitter, honey, leather and peppery flavors.
Comment: Bunnahabhain Abhainn Araig has taken its place in the category of hard-to-taste whiskies for me. It was not easy to distinguish aromas due to the fact that it has quite dominant and intense aromas. Although the sherry character is felt on the nose, I can say that the spice character is more pronounced on the palate. It's heavy and not so well-balanced whisky that should definitely be sipped slowly.
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