Cadenhead Bunnahabhain 39 Year Old


What a big surprise from Scotland’s oldest independent bottler! A 39 year old Islay whisky aged in sherry casks and bottled at cask strength with a retail of less than 200 quid! Impressive. It’s not surprising that these babies were swept up quickly but we were lucky enough to try it at a Water of Life Society tasting run by one of the committee members (Zsuzsa!). Known as the XL tasting this was a special tasting to celebrate her birthday.

This particular release comes from the vatting of 3 sherry butts. Presumably these are from full maturations as opposed to finishes. The darkness of the liquid would perhaps attest to that. It truly has a lovely reddish dark hue to it. Not much more information is available on this. Seeing as how Bunnahabhain are selling a 16 year old sherry matured whisky at Feis Isle 2016 for £250, this seems quite the bargain.


Distillery: Bunnahabhain

Age: 39 Years Old

Cask: Three Sherry Butts

Distilled: 1976

Bottled: 2016

Number of Bottles: 648

ABV: 49.4%

Price: £195 from Cadenheads




Very floral with fresh and dried flowers. Like walking into a glen in the middle of the woods in bloom. Fresh cut tropical fruits with a hint of pineapples and a mix of rambutan and lychee. This sharpness to it like a young perfume or walking into a fruit market. Sticky nectar from honey suckles and the Syrup that drips out of ripe fruits like figs. A bit of crispness like fresh cut grass.


Immediately a strong woody influence with a thick sweetness of dried flowers. It has this weight to it that carries fathoms of flavours with plums, apricot tarts, grape juice, lingon berry, German plum pastries, raspberries, black berries, mango chutney, bitter cinnamon bark, star anise from beef spicy noodle soup, lucky charms or the Jurassic park Marshmallows limited edition cereal, smores, it just keeps going. The weight of it is something that I’ve not encountered before. It’s just this enormous presence.


A long potpourri sweetness with old bitter oak and hard cheeses like gruyère. Does not let go. Super long finish. I think it’ll still be there tomorrow morning.




A fantastic whisky that is at first subtle but has this overwhelming depth that just rolls through the palate. It’s floral in a such a deep way. Really nice to try and I wish it were more available and more affordable so it would be nice to return to.




Sweet rich red berries, vanilla pods, pear drops and fruit candies.


Sweetness continues, red berries, lots of Cask influence – oak and vanilla bark.


Finish with a mix of bitter and sweet.




Such a treat. This is one to sit back and relax with. Complex and tantalising.



Here’s another review:

Ben’s Whisky Blog


Image at top from:


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