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A Can’t-Miss 30 Year Old Bunnahabhain—A K&L Exclusive - 11/22/2019 - Single Malt Scotch

Clocking in at an impressive powerful 57.3% abv, the Bunnahabhain 30 Year Old "Old Particular" is not for the faint of heart. Built on a grand scale, but also with the nuance for which this Islay distillery is known, it is a remarkable single malt that delivers on a multitude of levels. Offering a beguiling blend of candied fruits, subtle smoke, bee’s wax, mocha, and oak spice, it is every bit as compelling as one might expect from a 30-year-old rendition from this historic distillery. A survey of the market will reveal that similar expressions will set one back over $800, but here we have this blockbuster for only $349.99—once again proving the best scotch values are found at K&L. Longtime collectors of Bunna won’t want to miss this thoroughly compelling expression as it reveals a classic profile but amplified and expanded. Simply put, this is Bunna at the very best.

Also of note is the Springbank 22 Year Old "Sovereign Wax Top.” Springbank is always an instant sell-out and this cask is already moving at an impressive clip. This is a stupendous expression, offering everything we look for in a classic Springbank. $400 is a steal for a bottling this universally celebrated and rare. Collectors with this 22 Year Old will count themselves lucky.

Vintage Item Name Score Retail Link
1988 Bunnahabhain 30 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) $349.99 View
Springbank 22 Year Old "Sovereign Wax Top" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) $399.99 View

1988 Bunnahabhain 30 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($349.99)

Bunnahabhain has been doing its thing since 1881 with just a short shutdown in the early 1980s. The massive distillery was built at a time of booming confidence in the Scotch industry and everything about it reflects that, from the enormous sprawling distillery to the massive stills. Historically destined for blends such as Cutty Sark and Famous Grouse, it's in the modern booming era of Scotch that Bunnahabhain has really come into its own as a single malt. Known today for its unpeated malt on an island famous for peated spirit, Bunna at 30 years old is a rarity and something truly to behold. Last year we offered a 30-year-old Bunna that clocked in at a modest 44% ABV, and this year we have secured a refill hogshead cask of the same age that retained its proof and is as massive as the distillery itself - 57.3% ABV. That extra oomph translates into a combination of age and power that is virtually never available; especially for $350. Consider the 25-year-old distillery bottling averages over $800 and the value here becomes abundantly clear.

Staff ImageNeal Fischer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 02, 2019

This year's Old Particular Bunnahabhain selection for K&L is less Sherry-driven than our 2018 cask. An elegant Scotch, the nose opens with light honey, lanolin, and herbal tea. Peaches, chamomile, and salted caramel come through with more nosing. On the palate, the lanolin melts to beeswax and more exciting spice comes to the foreground with cinnamon and black pepper. Lemon skins and sea salt present themselves next. As it moves to the finish, this Scotch gets more mineral-driven and grassy.

Staff ImageDavid Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 21, 2019

We've worked with several old barrels of Bunnahabhain over the last few years. We've seen a wide variety of offerings from 23-30 years old. But these last two years we've been given access to two of the most special Bunnahs we've ever sold, both distilled in 1988 and complete opposites in style. So if you have last years incredible refill sherry butt at 44.5% and your wondering why you'd buy another bottle from the same vintage, rest assured that this one is on the complete other end of the spectrum. What last years cask had in poise and ease of consumption, this one has in powerful and complexity. And it's true, age is just a number, but there's no doubt that the Laings have been stashing their best casks to be released at the BIG 30! I often don't recommend drinking old whisky like this with too much water, but the proof is seemingly daunting and I think this whisky swims astonishingly well. Without water expect it to be rather shut down on the nose. Hints of malt, herbs, roots, salt, gravel and wisps of smoke. On the palate you can tell that behind the baffling nose is so much tension and complexity it's brimming with power. Now proof this down under 50% and you'll open up a completely unparalleled experience. The unique ability of Bunnah to seem of Islay without any peat is clear. Salted lemon peel, oolong, hints of camphor/creosote, gentian, lemongrass and the tiniest bit of ozone. The palate is ultra linear and long. Grassier than

Staff ImageAndrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 21, 2019

This whisky is stunningly complex. While we had a 30 year old Bunna last year that was dark with sherry, this impressive cask is all about the character of the malt itself. It is a perfect example of why Bunnahabhain is such a well regarded distillery. The malt itself feels drizzled in honey. A slight cream provides richness. There is a dizzying array of fruit that ranges from tropical pineapple to honeycrisp apples. It's basically a breakfast bowl of yogurt, granola, and fresh fruits, but with an enormous wallop of power. Under the obvious notes on the nose is a gentle sea brine and herbal quality both of which provide lift and freshness. The body is full, but not heavy. An the finish lights up your tastebuds with the priqlyness of high proof and the sweetness of creme brulee. A masterpiece malt not to be missed by any serious whisky drinker or collector.

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 21, 2019

This is probably one of the best whiskies on the shelf. Sweet core of bananas/apricots/creme brulee, with whiffs of briny algae and a subtle peatiness that isn't a distinct characteristic but a fully integrated part of the whole. The thirty years this spent in refill hogshead were years well spent.

Staff ImageJeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 18, 2019

This 30 year old single malt is alive and packed full of drinking pleasure. In the nose there are savory and malt notes. In the mouth it is light bodied but is mouth coating with delicate savory flavors. With a splash of water the nose opens up and provides savory and bees wax aromas. In the mouth it becomes softer and more delicate. This excellent single malt offers finesse and shows what Bunnahbahain distillery is capable of producing.

Staff ImageJackson Lee | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 15, 2019

This dram had a certain je ne sais quoi about it. Everything from the nose to the finish blew me away. Pretty and elegant on the nose with a delicate hint of smoke with red summer berries and canned mandarin oranges. The palate was equally as impressive, with more of a sweet tangerine flesh note with light oak tones and chocolate malt; it felt like sunshine in my mouth. The finish didnt disappoint, as the sun started to set it left me with a flavor that reminded me of one of my favorite candies- peach gummy rings. This is an absolute dream of a scotch, no water necessary, and with tariffs going up, Id definitely pick this bottle up for future consumption.

Springbank 22 Year Old "Sovereign Wax Top" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($399.99)

We had an exceptional cask of Springbank last year that sold out after almost no effort on our part. We only received 78 bottles from that cask because it had supposedly been split with another market. As it turns out, we might have found the rest of that cask. The supplier is unable to confirm if this is the rest of the cask that we didn't get last year or if in fact it is a sister cask. Again we've only been allocated a tiny amount (108 bottles) and the proof is slightly lower by one tenth of one percent. If it is indeed the same juice, it certainly is not the same bottle. Last year's came in the Hunter Laing Old & Rare packaging while this year's is bottled under the Sovereign line with a handsome wax top to indicate it's of a different caliber than most Sovereign bottlings. Regardless of the cagey back story, this stupendous example of Scotland's most (read ONLY) old-style distillery is a true wonder. The distillery releases a 21-year-old at 46% which easily fetches $400, but never achieves quite what these single casks can deliver. There's no question that these old Springers are expensive, but in context their quality, scarcity, and the enormous amount of care and energy that go into producing this whisky means that it should be considered by all who care to be the very most valuable commodity in the whisky drinking world. We certainly think it's worth every penny we're charging and maybe much more.

Staff ImageDavid Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 20, 2019

I was absolutely obsessed with the magical 22 year old Springbank we sold last year. That special cask only turned out 78 bottles and I was under the impression that the rest had gone to Europe. Now I'm not so sure. When Hunter Laing said they had another 108 bottles of 22 year old Springbank, they couldn't confirm that it wasn't the exact same. Upon tasting it there's almost no doubt that this is either the same cask or a sister cask of very similar quality. It's a pretty weird thing to have happen, especially when Scotland is being tight lipped about it, but I'm not complaining or questioning it for one second. I think I called last years whisky, "a living legend in our midst." It's sounds like hyperbole, but this is truly one of the finest modern Springbank I've ever tasted. Very much in the old style although it begins rather restrained it's packed with layer upon layer of complex flavor. Light peat, camphor, new Jordans, expensive non-scented candles. On the palate surprising big Campbeltown peat. Big smoke, tons of tension. But with just a little tiny smidge of water, the nose explodes from the glass. Soot, cigars, lemons, leather, creosote, fresh tennis balls, quince jam, chamomile, coriander, thujone, more and more keeps coming out. On the palate it's now pure highland peat smoked lemons, menthol, citrus oil, green tea, hints of candied stone fruits, grains of paradise and almost numbing feeling that brings me back to